Global Warming And Airplanes

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Earlier this week, my colleague Mary Grady stirred the pot with her blog on the prospect of technology driven green airplanes. I found it interesting that a discussion like this can't be compartmentalized to exclude the giant, stinking elephant in the middle of the room: general aviation's role in and relationship to carbon emissions and climate change.

Mention the word green—which I detest, by the way—and you won't enjoy even a degree of separation from global warming/climate change. The aviation press, of course, runs from this topic as though it were Ebola virus. The reason is that editors know that pilots and owners don't like to confront unpleasant realities and some labor under the misconception that politics and aviation exist in separate universes. They never have—the two are more conjoined than ever.

If we slice GA down to its constituent parts, what we're most interested in is the piston segment. Reader Peter Thomas wrote to say that his solution to all of this is to simply ignore it. "I don't care about the emissions I produce," he writes, neatly defusing any worry about greenhouse gasses. Ah, the serenity of the certain. But if you parse his statement rationally, you'd have to conclude he's correct. Piston GA burns so little fuel—and it will continue to burn less as GA remains small as percentage of total fossil fuel consumption—as to have little bearing on carbon dioxide emissions. If we all quit flying tomorrow, no one would notice, least of all the atmosphere.

What Thomas has managed to do is to get by the guilt by perception that stymies many of us. GA has always had the fat-cat perception about it and the current occupant of the White House has aggravated that. And since climate change is directly linked to fuel consumption, airplanes look like Hummers times 10. Never mind that your airplane gets 25 MPG, the perception is there and denying it doesn't make it go away. Explaining it doesn't seem to work, either.

I have talked to many pilots and owners about this and they seem to divide themselves into several camps. One camp declares the whole climate thing is a hoax and they simply haven't read the science or ignore the findings as bogus. Another camp accepts and understands the science, but remains skeptical of the conclusions. A third embraces the science, accepts that it's credible, but hasn't the first clue what, as an aviator, to do about any of it. I'm in the third camp. I freely admit that my head is so far in the sand on this one that you can't even read the shoe size on the bottom of my sneakers.

So I rationalize it all by adopting a version of Thomas's logic. I do care about the emissions, but reckon the tradeoff in rapid transportation, community services and jobs is worth it for the small contribution in carbon load. Personally, I'd rather make gains where it really matters, in powerplant emissions and surface vehicles. If that means less consumption of electricity or higher rates, I can live with it.

I do not call myself an environmentalist, although I like to think I'm savvy to the issues and that I act responsibility. If you do call yourself an environmentalist and you like fooling with airplanes a little or a lot, well, you have a problem. You're living a paradox—sort of like the fine, upstanding judge or banker who gets falling down drunk on the weekends.

Not that I'm passing judgment, by the way. I am merely observing that we live in complicated times. Like me, you'll have to find your own way and if you do, how 'bout digging me out of the sand?

Comments (227)

Paul - What do you think of organizations like CarbonNeutralPlane.com as a way to not only asuage some level of guilt (pilots never feel guilty, right) but to truly offset our habit?

Posted by: Joel Ludwigson | July 9, 2009 3:51 PM    Report this comment

I find myself more aligned with camp 2. The rate of global warming is esentially the same that has been going on since the last ice age. And the rate that our glaciers are receding is about the same rate as the glaciers at the begining of the end of the last ice age. It is all a natural cycle. Eventually, we will see global cooling and the glaciers extending back down into central north american continent. As for emisions, I'm more concerned with air quality than air temperature.

Posted by: Roger Dugan | July 9, 2009 5:26 PM    Report this comment

I think you're right, Paul, it's all very complex and there are no easy answers. How everyone chooses to resolve the various issues depends on values and priorities and worldview as well as how you interpret the science.

Personally, I think the little airplanes that most of us fly are not that big a factor in the grand scheme of things. The bizjets that burn hundreds of gallons per hour though, well ... I suppose somebody can find a way to justify that too.

The point I was trying to make in my blog is that our technology is evolving and the fossil-fuel era is not going to last forever, anyway. And as Roger notes, even if you thing global warming is a crock, there's no question that the emissions pollute the air. So if we can make progress, finding better ways to do the things we want to do, that's great.

I agree with your point on "green," by the way. It has become a pretty annoying term, and probably worth the trouble to avoid it.

Posted by: Mary Grady | July 9, 2009 7:43 PM    Report this comment

Thank you, Mary. And while the term "green" is annoying on several levels, to me, it brings hard memories of my college days waking up on particular Saturday morning and looking in the mirror.

Posted by: Roger Dugan | July 9, 2009 8:22 PM    Report this comment

I find myself in the second camp. Global warming, Climate Change whatever play on words are used, for me it always comes down to a few bureaucrats who want to micromanage our lives. Any “Science” that comes from the government I am immediately skeptical of. Because it is the government who is pushing the legislation on us, so I think their conclusions are biased. In fact, ALL of us are biased. Piston aviation in particular I think is fast becoming an endangered endeavor due to the EPA targeting avgas. We were using lead in our avgas for decades and the impact is negligible. I think it just an easy target for the micromanagers. I don’t worry about the impact GA makes as I think it won’t be around much longer. At least not anything near what we have today. I am just finishing a Stearman with a PW 1340 that has a smoke system that will IFR my field as well as a Raven 2XS with a Lycon 400HP IO-540. Both gas hogs as far as aircraft go and I fly them guilt free. I think we are the last generation to be able to enjoy this kind of freedom. I also know the sun has a bigger effect on our environment and weather than you or I and we don’t control the sun. I like a particular quote from Jules Verne, “Purchase of the North Pole”. “The world’s inhabitants could thus sleep in peace. To modify the conditions of the Earth’s movement is beyond the power of man. It is not given to mankind to change the order established by the Creator in the system of the Universe.”

Posted by: daniel schultz | July 10, 2009 1:31 AM    Report this comment

I'm not a big fan of carbon offsets. To me, they smell of scamming because you're paying someone else to atone for you, as it were. It doesn't represent a change of habit. Further, I favor a stronger market-driven approach that has legs and carbon offsets don't. One analog might be the regulation of lead paint. For years, it was known that lead was hazardous, but it literally took an act of Congress to regulate it and the market soon responded with better, safer products. It's far more complex with CO2 because so much of the fundamental economy is tied up in fuels that produce it. Ice core research suggests that historically, climate flips have happened around the 350 PPM CO2 levels. We're now at 380 PPM and rising. One can argue the lead/lag or cause and effect. If the Cassandras are right, we may have already reached the point of no return. If they're wrong, check back in 20 years.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | July 10, 2009 9:55 AM    Report this comment

There can be no arguement, Earth's climate is changing, always has always will, not much we can do about that. Pollution is a different matter. Fly into almost any large city and you can see it. In many areas you can taste it. Pollution can and does sicken and kill people. That is something we need to do something about. It would make sense to attack the largest pollution sources first, so GA should be a low priority target. My contribution is to lean the mixture as best I can and be should be put to work here, not the counterproductive short-sighted reactions like the Toyota Prius, whose life cycle carbon footprint is greater than a 450 Stearman.

Posted by: Richard Montague | July 10, 2009 11:08 AM    Report this comment

As the aforementioned Mr Peter Thomas I feel I have the right to respond:

Firstly; I don't care about the emission I produce while I fly, because if I did, I would not fly. If we can make engines produce less emissions for the same power, weight and money, I'll happily use them. And if they use less fuel, it means I can fly more!

If you are truly worried about global warming you cannot possible justify flying for fun. Or driving, or boating or using any internal combustion device in the pursuit of your own selfish pleasure, as opposed to essential need. You should stay on the ground and only use public transport and cycle everywhere. (Which I have done for most of my life, by the way.) How much greenhouse gas should each person be entitled to produce in the pursuit of his happiness? And who shall decide this? Should we all get a government issued lifetime allotment of how much we're allowed to produce? (In which case I guarantee I'd be way ahead by now...)

What prompted my original strong reaction is that I get fed up with so called environmentalists trying to fix problems so far down the list, it's ridiculous. Where is the logic??

GA's contribution to the problem is easily put into perspective - divide the world's fuel production by the amount we use. It's tiny. Fix the BIG problems first then focus on the smaller ones.

Posted by: Peter Thomas | July 12, 2009 1:04 AM    Report this comment

Finished petroleum products used in the US in 2008:

6,397,212,000 barrels per day.

Avgas consumption in 2006:

5,603,000 barrels a day.

Less than 0.0876% of the total petroleum product consumption in the USA.

Can anyone call a 0.0876% contribution to a problem a "big stinking elephant in the room?"

(Source: http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_psup_dc_nus_mbbl_a.htm )

Posted by: Peter Thomas | July 12, 2009 6:13 PM    Report this comment

What you are failing to see, Peter, is the perception problem. Not everyone in the world shares your view of not caring about emissions. Some people view this in terms of personal responsibility. In other words, they actually do care how much carbon they personally throw into the atmosphere and worry what they can do about it.

The what-me-worry-hoax crowd doesn't have this problem. A pilot who likes to think of him/herself as an environmentalist, faces a difficult dilemma.

Remember, some people take "think globally, act locally" quite seriously. I give them all a tip of the hat.

--Paul

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | July 12, 2009 6:30 PM    Report this comment

All you people that are for aggressively dealing with 'climate change' or 'global warming' please sell your house, your car, your airplane, your job and move into a cave with no heat that is totally self sufficient. Then get back to me. Talking about emissions from aviation is hitting a thumb tack with a sledge hammer.

Yhere is about 87,000 things of a higher priority in our lives.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 13, 2009 5:29 AM    Report this comment

This is all just bloody nonsense-- being put into official government dogma, but still, nonsense nonetheless-- I am all for a clean environment (e.g. rivers in major cities like Cleveland that can actually ignite, not good)-- but to allow the government powers to regulate and tax us all in the name of global warming, is just insane-- we supposedly intelligent carbon-based organisms emit carbon-based waste material in solid, gaseous, and sometimes liquid (I know, TMI) form-- without going anywhere near an airplane-- is that next on the taxable chopping block? Stop the insanity!

Posted by: Sam Pepper | July 13, 2009 7:06 AM    Report this comment

If you mean by "accept the science" that the earth has warmed slightly recently -- I accept that the same scientists who 30 years ago noticed that the earth was getting cooler have now noticed that the earth is getting warmer -- as well as MARS and Venus. The SCIENCE SAYS that we live near a variable star with a short cycle of about 7 years, a medium cycle of about 30 years, and a long cycle of about 70,000 years. We've been keeping records for about .1% of the last long cycle (100 years), during which we have noticed a 1 degree rise.

If you mean by "accept the science" that I believe human activity has anything to do with Earth (or Mars) getting warmer -- of course not.

The SCIENCE SAYS that CO2 is 1/10th as powerful a greenhouse gas as WATER VAPOR and all the CO2 created by man since the beginning of time is a tiny fraction of the amount WATER VAPOR naturally generated by the panet in one day.

Humans who live their entire lives surrounded by human activity tend to believe that the entire planet is a densily populated as the cities in which they keep their thermometors.

But pilots, who routinely view the enormity of our planet and the vast empty spaces between human settlements ought to have more common sense. "Global Warming" is not about science, it's about making America feel guilty for being wealthy, so we'll hand over our wealth to the looters.

Posted by: Jon Baker | July 13, 2009 7:10 AM    Report this comment

Paul, if you were familiar with the real science you would realize that anthropological global warming is a political hoax. However, because our public schools have become indoctrination institutes rather than venues for the development of true critical thinking, GA's days are short. The politics are against it and CO2 is only part of it.

Posted by: Steve Hooley | July 13, 2009 7:44 AM    Report this comment

To be frank, I have not really seen any specific attacks on GA based on pollution or emissions caused by us anywhere. Yes, I heard the arguments about how "ecological unsound" airline travel is (even though you might be traveling at 50 mpg per seat), but nothing specifically about light aircraft. I am sure it will come, though, so do something about it and take as many non-aviation people flying as you can and show them the facts. I second Mr Baxter - if you consider yourself an environmentalist and feel the problem is that important and you're still driving your car, running a/c in your house and shopping at Walmart - you're a hypocrite and all your arguments are null and void to me.

Posted by: Peter Thomas | July 13, 2009 7:57 AM    Report this comment

Good blog, Paul. Interesting responses again - arguing about whether climate change is 'real' or anthropogenic, and whether GA is a significant contributor.

Answer: it doesn't matter. "Perception is reality". Like it or not, GA is perceived as being a rich man's game, and if GA is to get anything approaching a fair (rational, proportionate) shake, GA needs to greenwash with the best of them. The US public will gladly sacrifice GA to make themselves feel a bit better about driving around in their F150. Deal with that reality, rather than whining about global warming not being real, or about 'big government' being unfair to GA.

Anyone who doesn't take that message to heart and help to sell GA to the public in the current climate is effectively pulling up the ladder behind them, and denying future generations the chance to get involved in GA.

It's not about your personal politics, it's about doing something effective.

Posted by: Ceri Reid | July 13, 2009 7:58 AM    Report this comment

Bravo, Jon Baker.

Yours is the first rational response I've read on Paul's or Mary's blog. All the green enviro-wackos need to start riding bicycles, and board up their houses if they are heating and cooling more than about 1000 square feet. Their guilt feelings and fained concern over our destruction of Mother Earth are starting to make me feel a little nauseous.

As for me, I'll continue to fly my antique airplane(10 gph), and the corporate jets that I fly(300+ and 600+ gal first hour burn) for my pleasure and to provide sustenance for my family, without guilt. Meanwhile, Govenor Arnold will continue to commute between L.A. and Sacramento on an old, inefficient straight pipe Gulfstream. But he's buying carbon credits. Simply absurd.

Paul, obviously I'm in camp 1. GW is a hypothesis. Yes, the science is out there, for all to read. For every point in favor of, there is a counter-point against GW. There is is no conclusion to the debate, based on the scientific evidence. Only the politicians say the debate is settled, because they have an agenda to push. I don't believe that the majority of the world's climatologists/meteorologists are on board with this theory. The IPCC has no credibility. They are a tool of the U.N. to obtain taxing authority over the polluters of the world. That would be YOU, flying your little airplanes, driving your SUV's, and living in humongous houses because you can.

Posted by: Dennis Crenshaw | July 13, 2009 7:59 AM    Report this comment

Ceri, You must be a politician. Only in politics and the even more dishonest trade of reporting the news is 'perception reality'. The facts are as I previously stated and we cannot roll over to the ignorant and ill informed.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 13, 2009 8:08 AM    Report this comment

I think the term "global warming" carries an awful lot of baggage. Being concerned about pollution doesn't mean that we all have to stop flying and live in a cave. It does mean that maybe we can support and applaud those who are looking for better ways to do the things we want to do while causing less harm to our planet's ecosystems. Whether or not carbon emissions disrupt our climate -- and I am a bit more skeptical of that than Paul is -- there is no question that there are other issues with fossil fuels, from the pollutants they emit to the damage we do in excavating them to the geopolitical consequences of our dependence on them. Eventually, fossil fuels will go the way of the horse and buggy in the annals of technology. In the meantime, we all have to make choices that make sense to each of us.

Posted by: Mary Grady | July 13, 2009 8:11 AM    Report this comment

We should hope for the best but plan for the worst. There is the possibility that global warming is a hoax, perpetrated by those who dislike our western way of life. It would be better if many self-appointed environmental activists would seek the solution of their personal problems on a psychiatrists couch, instead of asking other people to carry their baggage.

But suppose there is a real need to reduce CO2? My solution is a carbon tax, as high as is needed, on all fossil fuels, including those for aviation.

My idea is to create a painful yet flexible incentive for us to do a variety of things to reduce our carbon footprint. Among these, are: Drive a smaller car. Or car-pool, live closer to where you work, or drive 60 MPH instead of 75.

Magazines like Plane and Pilot have had articles on how to reduce fuel consumption. A carbon tax on avgas will incentivize aircraft owners and pilots to follow their advice.

Will this kill recreational flying? Again, if neurotic intellectuals are suppressing evidence that the world is NOT coming to an end from global warming we should speak out, just as we protested against burdensome demands from the TSA. But we must plan for the worst, and that includes: Why not drive a small car instead of a big SUV, so the fuel we save can instead be used for flying just for fun on a beautiful autumn morning when the leaves on trees are changing colors, and we can see it all from a thousand feet AGL?

Posted by: Alex Kovnat | July 13, 2009 8:54 AM    Report this comment

Alex, why don't we just raise gas prices to $10.00 and destroy the economy? You solution makes no sense, especially since this is NOT settled science in spite of what that nut job Algore says. I use my plane for business almost all the time and I could just lay off a couple of more people to take care my transportation needs.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 13, 2009 9:07 AM    Report this comment

Why do the greenies forget that CO2 is the live giving gas that makes our planet GREEN with plant life? Every plant converts that gas into the green biomass we see. I was watching a science show for youth and they asked the kids where they thought all the "stuff" came from to make a giant tree. One said the nutrients in the ground, one said yea..and water. The instructor said good, but 90% of the mass comes directly out of the air...yes carbon! We need to stop demonizing the very thing life is made from! Water vapor IS the main "green house" gas. If CO2 trippled I don't believe we're doomed. Methane, also, is ten times more effective as a "green house" gas. Global cooling would be the real threat to our vast human population, particularly food production. Of course the climatologists straddle that one by renaming it "climate change". That way they can say they are right regardless of any outcome. Sounds suspicious to me! Most scientists (in numbers) do believe in anthropogenic GW..but since when was science a consensus matter. Most scientists believed the Earth went around the sun for most of human existance!

Posted by: eric hanson | July 13, 2009 9:12 AM    Report this comment

Oops..got the last sentence reversed (of course). It was the majority who thought the Sun revolved around the Earth. A majority on the GW bandwagon doesn't mean it is true (at least man made). The various solar cycles can easily explain our constantly varying climate. Life has been on Earth for a couple billion years, and I think it is a pretty forgiving planet to allow that. With all the positive and negative feedback loops and ice ages, we still had millions of years to evolve as humans. Oil will run out before we turn this planet into Venus (that's not going to happen, it would take something bigger than fossil fuel burning). Exponential population growth is the real "elephant in the room". That wouldn't ever pass politically though (well they tried limiting that in China). Fly your planes all you crazy pilots, and enjoy!

Posted by: eric hanson | July 13, 2009 9:31 AM    Report this comment

CO2 is about 387ppm or .0387% of the air we breathe. This is NOT a crisis. Begone junk science! Go fly your plane.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 13, 2009 9:44 AM    Report this comment

Yea, it belongs with the Y2K hoax! Have we all forgotten that. Despite a large percentage of computer users not taking precautions essentially nothing happened (it was the end of the civilized world to here some). No basic change in the amount of Carbon on Earth since the planet formed. We're not making any more of it! Releasing that stored "Solar energy" of fossil fuels is just one more in an endless cycle. The earth will get greener again and restore those decaying plants for "oil users" 100 million years from now. People just love to have a "cause" don't they? Makes us feel more important than we actually are.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 13, 2009 10:01 AM    Report this comment

If you weren't feeling well and gathered together the top doctors in the world to find out why and what to do about it, would you ignore the consensus diagnosis and recommended treatment of the vast majority of those doctors? You might, but you sure would worry about whether you made the correct decision. The dilemma is no different for those of us involved in working with climate change science and trying to make sure that we act responsibly to minimize the threat to our homes, food supply, infrastructure and natural resources.

For me, Paul has raised the most interesting issue, which is with how we reconcile doing what we love with its potential consequences. Most of us live with these contradictions in our lives. I'm not going to stop flying as long as I'm physically able, so I fly a Waco and drive a Prius. Go figure. But it increases my overall "fleet" mileage and I make other adjustments in my life. And I rationalize that general aviation is a very minor contributor to climate change. But part of the problem we face is the cumulative effect of a very large number of minor contributors. Some of us apparently choose to deal with the contradictions between flying and climate change by denying that what we do has any consequences or blaming others.

Bob Davison

Posted by: Robert Davison | July 13, 2009 10:35 AM    Report this comment

Bob, Don't pretend there is a consensus because there is not. Let's deal in facts not the junk that comes out of the media.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 13, 2009 11:20 AM    Report this comment

@Stuart: We're only allowed so many characters per post so I had to edit what I wanted to say. But let me emphasize again, I have no emotional need whatsoever for global warming to be reality. If G.W. were to be proven a hoax once and for all, I would (if I could) jump for joy so high as to risk my head being lopped off by the whirling propeller of some guy's Cessna that happened to be passing overhead just then.

But if G.W. is a reality, a suitable tax on fossil fuels offers a choice: In the realm of automobiles that would be a smaller car, or less driving. And it would be your own personal choice. What would you rather have, a suitable tax on fossil fuel carbon, or draconian fuel economy regulations? Or perhaps fuel rationing?

Posted by: Alex Kovnat | July 13, 2009 11:33 AM    Report this comment

I said or implied only that there is consensus among the vast majority or scientists working on climate change. There is not consensus among all scientists working in that arena, which is exactly what one would expect from the scientific process. Disagreement is essential to that process. There is a small probability that a minority of scientists are correct that human activities are not contributing to the observed increases in average global temperature and CO2 concentrations. But the consensus findings of the vast majority of the world's physicists, geologists, oceanographers, climatologists, and other scientists from diverse backgrounds is that average global temperatures are increasing at an increasing rate (accelerating) and that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to that increase. The question is whether it is reasonable for people who are charged with protecting the public health and welfare to ignore the general agreement among the vast majority of scientists working on climate change. How would our grandchildren evaluate our decision to ignore those findings? Local, state and national officials have to weigh the relatively small chance of taking actions and incurring costs that prove to be unnecessary versus the far greater chance of doing nothing and watching our lives change in far greater ways than whether you or I can fly our airplanes.

Bob Davison

Posted by: Robert Davison | July 13, 2009 11:44 AM    Report this comment

Good article, Paul. Even if GA contributes a tiny % of total CO2 its perception makes it a target by overzealous legislators. I'm not that familiar with the science, but if the world temp is rising does anybody know for sure how much is just a natural cycle and how much is man-made? Seems to me the atmosphere can only accomodate so much exhaust emissions before it reaches a saturation point. I have to think that power plants and millions of cars around the world (and other natural sources) are contributing in some negative way to climate change a whole lot more than a small group of pilots and their aircraft. It'd be nice to be able to separate the true facts about GW from the politically (?) driven BS that permeates the media.

Posted by: Will Alibrandi | July 13, 2009 11:47 AM    Report this comment

Aeroplanes, motorbikes, cars and anything else burning fossil fuels do contribute to human health problems. If we can make more fuel efficient aircraft that does not mean we can fly more (except "possibly" because it "appears" to be cheaper. If we fly or drive more as a result that does little to help the problem. We could still end up using the same amount of fuel.We have been knocking down trees and the result is there are fewer of them to "fix" the gases in the air. Millions and millions of trees. We know that the pollutants in the air from fossil fuel use are very unhealthy for people. I see no question about this whatsoever. Manyh of the arguments presented for continuing our current behaviour (huge usage of fossil fuel) seem sensible, but upon closer examination they are not sensible. One thing is for certain, we must "err on the side of caution" and fix things. If we do not do what we probably should do, and therefore make a wrong choice, the prospects for mankind are absolutely dismal.

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 13, 2009 11:50 AM    Report this comment

Kudos to Jon Baker, Eric Hansen and others!

First off, it has been greatly under reported that many of the actual scientists who did research and provided data to the UN's IPCC have distanced themselves and outright refuted the conclusions set forth in that body's Executive Summary (ES) published a few years back. Why? Because the evidence does not support the conclusions and predictions that were set forth in the ES! This "evidence thing" is a pesky nusiance to the true believers, so they diminish and demonize those who point them out. They want the "debate" to be over, and as others have noted, they've been suprisingly effective at getting this misconception accepted as fact in the media and culture. In all of my adult life I have never seen such a whitwashing of facts and truth...it is indeed frightening!

Secondly, scientific "consensus" is NOT the same as scientific FACT! History is replete with examples of consensus thinking that over time was modified, debunked or discarded! Nothing wrong with that - it is actually how the scientific process is supposed to work. As one example, even decades after Einstein's theory was accepted there is STILL raging disagreement among "experts" regarding quantum mechanics and the precise operations of matter at the sub atomic level.

to be continued...

Posted by: William McClain | July 13, 2009 12:22 PM    Report this comment

There are better sources than Al Gore and USA Today, concerning climate change. Here's one I found after my initial posts: http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/

They discuss the "saturation" of absorption wavelengths. CO2 beyond a certain level (not much beyond where we are now), saturates it's "absorption window". Water droplets (clouds) and water vapor constitute 90% of global warming effect. They describe it to the layman this way..If you have horizontal shutters behind a window stacked one behind the other..when you close the first shutter 90% (water and water vapor), it cuts out most of the light there is a decreasing effect for each succesive shutter. CO2 isn't particularly effective at restricting energy loss into space in the first place. Consider it the last shutter in the stack... you can close it all the way or open it all the way..and the effect is minimal (in this analogy most of the light, for purposes of visualization is restricted by the first shutters..I.E. clouds and water vapor.

This thread presumes CO2-caused catastrophic runaway global warming. There is plenty to argue against that scenario. Strongly! Running out of useable fuel, or substitute fuels is more concerning.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 13, 2009 12:37 PM    Report this comment

Third, allowing the IPCC and others, who's agenda is political and certainly NOT scientific, to erroneously frame and shape this debate and then roll over and say that the "perception" they create is now the reality that must be accepted is (with all due respect) lazy and dangerous thinking. Aviation is under attack from multiple directions, and if we value the priviledge of flying we must be actively engaged (i.e. fight!) to inform and educate our political representatives and others regarding the actual facts. Remember, the real truth is in our favor!

Finally, during it's 4+ billion year history we know that planet earth is a dynamic place, meaing that it is constantly changing. In the latest cycle surface temps have been increasing ever since the mid 1800's (the last mini-ice age) and are up by about 1 degree C. (the data indicates that temps actually peaked in 1998 and have been decreasing ever since - another one of those pesky facts!). Historically, periods of decreasing temps have posed a much more serious risk to human and animal populations than periods of increasing temps. Moreover, the HARD evidence that anthropogenic (human caused) warming is happening at all is ambiguous at best. So one has to wonder about the motivation of those who are screaming catastrophy and seeking to inforce punitive taxation (i.e. wealth distribution) measures on our population and economy to ensure that we don't "destroy the planet". Or maybe one doesn't have to wonder at all...

Posted by: William McClain | July 13, 2009 12:39 PM    Report this comment

The IPCC has some questionable assumptions. We shouldn't destroy our economy for a calamity that isn't going to happen. That said we need to find alternative energy for a different reason we're going to run out eventually! That is a real national security issue! Increased fuel efficiency is only to the better, but don't lose sleep over your "carbon footprint" (every single green thing is saying bring that CO2 on!). Actual green houses are known to double CO2 and it yields up to 15% more crop! Scientifically, much beyond doubling CO2 has zero increased greenhouse effect, and you might warm Earth one degree by doubling it. Remember, scientists don't get government funding by saying "it really isn't a big problem"!

Posted by: eric hanson | July 13, 2009 12:41 PM    Report this comment

"More than 700 international scientists signed on to the U.S. Senate Minority Report expressing their concerns about man-made claims on global warming promoted by the UN IPCC. The dissenting scientists are more than 13 times the number of UN scientists, 52, who authored a report claiming that human emissions of carbon dioxide are responsible for dangerous and unprecedented warming. The dissenting scientists are from all over the world, including Japan, Italy, UK, Czech Republic, Canada, the Netherlands and the U.S. that are affiliated with institutions including, NASA, U.S. Navy, U.S. Defense Department, Energy Department, U.S. Air Force and the EPA. Our very own Environmental Protection Agency recently reported that we are undergoing a period of worldwide cooling."

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 13, 2009 1:52 PM    Report this comment

Mr. Hanson suggests that if global warming isn't grounds for demanding increased fuel efficiency, the possibility that we might run out of oil is.

If oil becomes more and more scarce, then I favor letting the price rise in accordance with free-market supply and demand forces.

I began reading Flying magazine in the 1970's, and remember seeing a picture of a Beechcraft 200 twin engine turboprop whose owner named it "The Free Enterprize". If the price of oil were to rise owing to scarcity, that would be free enterprize in action, creating incentive for us to reduce our demand and also, incentives for developing alternative energy sources like cellulosic ethanol.

Posted by: Alex Kovnat | July 13, 2009 2:04 PM    Report this comment

The "scientific consensus" has been telling us since the late 60s and early 70s that we are on the brink of running out of oil anyway, so the problem will shortly fix itself. Relax everybody!

I also remember, back in school in the early 70's, being taught in Physical Geography (and seeing it on many TV documentaries) that we are heading for another ice age. I am NOT being facetious. That was the 'consensus' back then.

I can take the argument against fossil fuel use based on general pollution and health problems far more seriously, the the whole GW aspect and would welcome improvements in that regard.

Posted by: Peter Thomas | July 13, 2009 2:18 PM    Report this comment

That is comforting somewhat, Stuart. Is this the same EPA that is debating about listing CO2 as a harmfull "pollutant". That is like saying Oxygen is a pollutant for cryin' out loud! The media is way behind the curve here, and more interested in not "offending the majority". It has become politics and business..certainly science is in the back seat now. You are called a crack pot if you disagree with this "running heard". I think the link I listed above has some good points and people should investigate on their own concerning what we do (and importantly..don't know). The current government trend seems to be (referencing an above post indirectly)...give the patient chemo-therapy because he might have cancer! Let's just say the diagnosis needs to proceed the treatment. I used to buy this CO2-caused global warming "lock, stock, and barrel", and then I started doing my own research. They (who are they), want you to think if we don't do something dramatic (and Draconian), RIGHT NOW, then humanity is doomed. Hogwash!

Posted by: eric hanson | July 13, 2009 2:20 PM    Report this comment

Peter, I can ease your mind on the real pollutants (sulfur dioxide, heavy metals, e.t.c.). On this the EPA really has done a good job. Current automobiles and point source energy generation are TENs of times cleaner (in the same time since 1955 automobile traffic volume in the U.S. has only doubled). Our air is cleaner than in 1955! Air pollution of the kind we used to talk about is almost off the radar screen entirely anymore (unless you live in Beijing, where they have American '50's like car pollution standards). Why do we pick on America? If our leadership in clean air standards over thirty years hasn't gotten to China for cars, why should our leadership in lowering CO2 make a whit of difference?! We've given enough advantage to China already without constraining us with "carbon caps"! This "lead by example" approach hasn't worked for existing technologies that China doesn't adopt. We are the Saudi Arabia of coal (and they are building one new coal-fired power plant a day..really). I do think we should lead on these matters, fact is, we always have.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 13, 2009 2:41 PM    Report this comment

With Paul continuing the discussion that Mary started last week it really comes across to me that this all breaks down into the usual suspects or sides of the brain - the just-the-facts science group who seem to always do the most mockery of the other side, and the big-picture-intuitive group who always try to see the 360 degree viewpoint.

I really don't think the 'twain shall ever meet, and personally don't need to always wait for science to prove things I may suspect and/or know before the long-awaited, always questionable 'proof' comes to light, but thanks to Paul and Mary for bringing the differences to light. For me I just want less pollution for my allergies and children, cleaner water for all, and some more understanding of the bigger picture of our planet than the self-centered opinions of too many here display. The notion that I cannot use earth's resources responsibly to live, work and fly and still be a nature loving, concerned citizen, or 'tree-hugger' to the angry minds, is absolute nonsense.

But with a state senator and 31 of her colleagues here in Az believing the earth is only 6000 years old, I'm not very anxious for any political awareness on our subject, local or national. I'll just keep doing what I can for a better world as I become aware of it.

Posted by: Dave Miller | July 13, 2009 3:23 PM    Report this comment

I appreciate Paul's sentiment and Mary is willing to consider all points of view. Love that. Let's just not put "just-the-facts" viewpoints as just another view though. Aren't the facts important? People who don't sign on to CO2 as a poison, or Earth-killing demon, are not necessarily anti-tree hugger. In fact I made a point that CO2 is what makes trees possible. That is a fact, whatever side of the brain it comes from, don't cha reckon? I think I have had an even 360 degree view here. Nothing wrong with science..how are we writing this after all? We don't fly airplanes on intuition, and I hope airplane designers, most certainly do not build airplanes on a hunch. Not anymore. The more you look into the supposed science of CO2-caused GW the less water it holds. Like I said, look into it, don't be lazy (or intuitive). I didn't see much mockery here frankly, and thought it quite educational.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 13, 2009 3:54 PM    Report this comment

Well, the fact is that science is a messy business. We are great at technical sciences that allow us to build airplanes that fly and can predict the path of a spacecraft from here to Mars. But we are not so good at predicting the behavior of complex, variable, natural systems. We may get better at it with time, or we may just get better at understanding the limitations of our ability to predict the future.

The bottom line, in my opinion, is that whether or not carbon emissions have any impact at all on the global climate is kind of beside the point, since we know for certain that fossil-fuel emissions pollute the air.

Nobody likes regulations, but the fact is that the air and water belong to all of us, and if there is no price attached to dumping pollutants, then there is no incentive to stop doing it. Paul noted that carbon-based fuels are all tied up in our economy, so finding a way to reduce their impact won't be easy, but there are ways to do it that won't force us all to live in caves. Like upping the CAFE standards so auto makers need to build cars that get reasonable mpgs, for example.

Posted by: Mary Grady | July 13, 2009 4:22 PM    Report this comment

Touchy, are we Mr. Hanson? My response specifically avoided being personal, other than the madness in my state senate. For you to completely miss the intent of my response and go on a personally offended tirade proves my point! To pretzel logic what I said to mean science bad, intuition good, I'm just speechless.

Let me up, I've had enough. Geez

I would agree, very educational.

Posted by: Dave Miller | July 13, 2009 4:28 PM    Report this comment

In the USA the air, the water and the land are cleaner than they have been for many decades. USA citzens are living longer and healthier than ever before. Man cannot control the climate even if he tried. What hubris!

Relax and enjoy your airplane while you can. Our biggest concern is an overweening government and associated politicians who foment guilt and class warfare for political gain and to further grow the government. They demonized the corporate flight departments and smaller GA is on the the same list. A matter of time. Can you airplane hobbyists justify your expensive polluting plaything? Obviously too much wealth.

It is about freedom.

Posted by: Steve Hooley | July 13, 2009 4:51 PM    Report this comment

I appreciate that Mary, but did you read my post where I remark about the fact that our air is cleaner than 1955(despite doubling traffic volume in the interim)? It seems to be running from this international Global Warming topic that has completely superseded reason in my opinion. Carbon monoxide is perhaps one major true pollutant (negligible with modern American car and powerplant standards), and people forget our oceans absorb that and reconstitute it unharmfully (along with CO2). There seems a less aware group that just has this "feeling" that all these harmfull things are "building up". Ain't really so, or we'd all have died decades ago. The Earth has many constituent elements, and that hasn't changed in 4 Billion years. They move around and are transient, and recycled. Our Sun will burn for another 4 or 5 billion years and in that time the continents will be subducted and even our worst waste will simply be incinerated and reconstituted within the mantel in the same concentrations they started out with. I have owned a few "hot-rods" in my past. I drove them less than a thousand miles a year. What good does it do to drive a Prius when you commute 15,000 miles a year (yea 15 times the use and maybe ten times the total pollution I contribute with the ol' Rod). I have taken light rail to work often, and walk to the bus stop. How do we remain free Americans in that light? Land of the Prius (whose economy does that help, BTW).

Posted by: eric hanson | July 13, 2009 4:51 PM    Report this comment

Certainly didn't mean to effect a tirade, Dave. Definitely didn't intend to be "personal", just meeting your points strongly, and others (intended respectfully). You seemed to bring up mockery first, and which "type" is more likely to do so. You interjected that, and I don't think anyone was much thinking that way before. Who is sensitive here? All apologies here if I didn't get you correctly, but you made a point about the types of people, and who is more likely to mock people. Let us get back, but I am afraid the topic necessarily switched from the original, to whether we should feel guilty at all about a falatious premise (certainly not proven), that CO2 is directly causative in global warming. If that were settled, the rest of this thread WOULD be meaningful. It is not settled.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 13, 2009 5:52 PM    Report this comment

When all is said and done, when all is done and said we are going to run out of oil. Large sections of the ocean are now absolutely DEAD. We know people are adversely impacted by fossil fuel pollutants. The rates of extinction of life forms are now reported (!) as being higher. Three years ago I could drive to my cottage at night and feel quite terrible because of all the frogs on the road...I killed thousands! Now I do not see any whatsoever.

We can continue as we have, or we can note that something appears to be actually happening that might have a very negative result for many forms of life -mankind included. Certainly the profit motive that drives so much of mankind remains paramount...a challenge is to maintain that profitability while making necessary changes.

Reduced fossil fuel reliance is a good thing.

It is time to adapt with aeroplanes and other forms of transportation and heating etc...time that we depart vigorously from fossil fuel use. This will require vast new ways of thinking but it can be done. In the meantime "fly on" but note that aeroplanes are just one part of an overall problem. They may be a very, very small part but nevertheless they are a part. I suggest that to think that they are a minimal part of the problem and therefore can contine as they are is false logic. Innovation in aviation can spread to other areas -and vice versa.

We cannot afford to contine in our wasteful ways. We ignore this fact at our peril.

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 13, 2009 6:39 PM    Report this comment

It never, ever will be settled. That's part of my point.

I'll try to be clearer. I'm not claiming I can dig Paul out of the sand, but... My intent was to point out the 2 sides, to me - people usually fall into in unproven (GW) discussions like this.

One group uses figures, tests, surveys, chosen scientists, numbers and their chosen 'facts' to disprove, sway or show the 'others' of their folley in believing in GW. The other group may cite all the above items also, but in my analysis there is also the acceptance that humans may have an influence on the earth's living qualities for centuries and want to get ahead of science, so to speak, not unlike staying ahead of the airplane, and to simply start Now and act and live with heightened awareness of our actions in aviation and everything else, and see if all of our individual efforts can add up to something helpful - despite proof or lack of proof of carbon footprint size.

It is simply the old religious axiom all over again I'll use here - since every person, in every religion, in every town, in every country, thinks they are in the Right religion, and all others are deluded, either war or a consensis must follow.

That's all. For me we have so much more in our human abilities than just science (not that there's anything wrong with science!, egad!) that even in this hot topic, there is still a place for intuition and understanding.

Isn't that what any discussion is about anyway?

Posted by: Dave Miller | July 13, 2009 7:29 PM    Report this comment

Wow, 39 posts (as of this writing 2004CDT) in one day on a single thread. Impressive.

Seems the consensus is:

GW by CO2 emissions is a myth at best.

CO2 adds to air polution which nobody likes.

Screw it all and fly anyway, but drive a compact.

Plants like CO2 - polititians don't

Scientists do - don't know what they are talking about.

Cave dwelling is not the answer.

Antireproduction is, ah, well, Huh????? (Maybe that was in Mary's blog, but worth mentioning)

Bottom line is that a bunch of little plane hanger jockies ain't going to make a damned bit of difference, one way or the other. I advocate going to the airport tomorrow, drag out the lawn chair, pop a cold one and piss off the old codger that thinks he knows more about stick and rudder than you do.

Posted by: Roger Dugan | July 13, 2009 8:28 PM    Report this comment

I like the way you think, Roger. Before I pop a cold one, though, I think I'll drag the ol' Stinson out of the hangar, bore holes for an hour, and burn 10 gallons of avgas. Then I'll be ready for that beer. My hangar, or yours? I'll bet we can reach consensus on this issue in less than a six pack.

Posted by: Dennis Crenshaw | July 13, 2009 9:13 PM    Report this comment

I like Roger's synopsis too. The only thing I would add is to say that in most cases I think scientists do know what they are talking about, but they don't always do a great job at communicating what they know (or don't know) to the rest of us.

That cold one sounds good right now!

Posted by: Mary Grady | July 13, 2009 10:26 PM    Report this comment

Dennis, and Roger I am onboard! Dave, I am sorry if I sounded devisive; not my intent, but I have changed camps (having studied it more and more). I really don't mean to get people emotional and irrationally motivated here (self included). We all want the best for our children, our nation, our planet. I think we all agree on that. I just suggest that a move to newer energy sources is mandatory, but don't throw out the baby with the bathwater on carbon emmisions. We have lacked a solid energy policy forever. I am grateful that the current administration at least gives it intelligent glances. We CAN be on a new road with this administration, just don't go crazy with policies that are based on the "carbon issue" as opposed to the "finite crude oil" issue. Totally different! The solutions for the finite crude oil issue necessarily help a vague "climate" issue (as said earlier). This thread was framed on the CO2-GW issue. I am just trying to stay on that thought. We all know we need to look for an alternative future. I respect all of the opinions here. It just seems that the current energy policy is geared to GW more than future energy..that is my big feeling. Yes, Dave, intuitively! Ha ha! yer fine, and didn't mean to alienate you! I am just seperating this climate issue out of a more important issue of transfer from crude oil (and I mean to be specific). Some alternative fuels still emit mass CO2 (biomass,celulosic ethanol, corn,switchgrass..e.t.c.).

Posted by: eric hanson | July 13, 2009 10:50 PM    Report this comment

I do mean to say that I don't think we should get in an uproar over CO2 emmisions. I honestly think the threat is overblown, and that is due to my research. This is not about finding rationalizations to continue our "high-intensity energy habit".

A contributor rightly said that the market should determine the ultimate choices. Yes, of course. The markets are not normal, as the current financial crisis illustrates. We put so much faith in our "myths of free market". Just hasn't proven out lately. I'm fine with an energy policy that doesn't center on GW, though. Most people still think an all-electric car is the answer. They still haven't reckoned that that electricity comes from somewhere. This is the marketing ploy..governmentaly and private business-wise. Aside from some small hydro-electric, most of our energy comes from coal or 15 to 20% nuclear. Note: the cofounder of green peace stated in an interview that he was wrong about nuclear (fathom that). He was asked if he'd live NEAR a nuclear plant, answer: "I would live IN a nuclear powerplant". Funny how ideals change isn't it? That is astounding. How many of us should line-up behind idealouges knowing how drastically they change their opinion based on new scientific (and old)technologies?

Posted by: eric hanson | July 13, 2009 11:06 PM    Report this comment

Not to be a stickler, but Roger's synopsis is incorrect that there was consensus on this thread that GW is a hoax. I certainly made it clear that is not my view. The prevailing view on this thread may be correct. After all, there is no such thing as certainty on GW or any other scientific matter. But the preponderance of the evidence is against the majority here. It's one of the highest stakes gambles imaginable, so I hope most of you on this thread are correct that the world's scientists have been duped or conspired in perpetuating a hoax. Nothing leaves me less hopeful about the future of general aviation than these types of "discussions" by pilots on this issue. Think I'll go turn avgas into noise.

Posted by: Robert Davison | July 14, 2009 9:23 AM    Report this comment

Most of the scientists have been 'duped' as you put it by bad data. Most of us that feel that 'man made' climate change is largely a myth have continuously found the data collecting to be very questionable. This isn't because our minds were made up in advance, it's because questionable data should not be taken into account when reaching scientific conclusions. Not to try to make this seem too simple but a far better mind than mine said "To try to take the Earth's temperature is like adding up all the numbers in the New York phone book dividing by the number of people, then calling that number and be talking to everyone." That my friends is why there are still way more problems to solve before reaching a conclusion. In the meantime, due to our friend the Sun being very calm temperatures since 1998 (if you believe we can measure them) have been going down. There is still time before Armageddon. Let us not be hasty in bad decisions based on faulty science.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 14, 2009 9:47 AM    Report this comment

>>Most of the scientists have been 'duped' as you put it by bad data<<

Well, now there's a problem and symptomatic of why discussions on this topic tend to veer toward the ideological and emotional and away from clear, critical thinking.

For it to be true, one would presumably have had to interview "most of the scientists" and to have vetted their data--much of it peer reviewed--and determined it to be bad. "Bad data" is itself a loaded phrase for what may be bad to you is the other guy's holy grail. Some of those “other guys” are lifelong experts in the atmospheric sciences. They seem to populate both sides of the dividing line.

In my view, the only intellectually honest way for an individual to analyze this is to step out of ideological echo chamber, be it Rush Limbaugh’s or the Sierra Club’s, and seek out the neutral analysis. Personally, I'm working up my own reading list to do this. Although I've seen his slide show, Al Gore's book isn't on my list.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | July 14, 2009 1:58 PM    Report this comment

I have no argument with anything you said Paul, however I have spent a lot of time with this and if the computer model used takes the data from say thirty years ago and projects it to today, you don't end up with the facts of where we are at. Therefore the computer model errors somewhere. Therefore it cannot be used to project into the future. Add to your reading list: http://www.co2science.org/

As a fellow aviator I hope you remember that the prediction of weather is a very tenuous proposition and I think that climate prediction is ten times that. We have much to learn.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 14, 2009 2:18 PM    Report this comment

In my opinion Paul sees this correctly by advocating the neutral way of analysis. Mr. Baxter replies by advocating a web page slanted extremely conservative or right wing - they refuse to disclose their funding resources to anyone (ask the state of az about that one), claim essentially that 'breeding'(yes folks, it's back!) is the central problem, and parade leading democrats' photos to show evil incarnate.

I'm all for fighting the good fight with whatever one believes, but if the power of right! keeps rearing its head on this subject, neutrality, intellectual honesty or objectivity will remain lost.

Only the need for power, in my opinion, keeps people from seeing the importance of finding consensus to go forward in a subject like this. This is important to us in GA, is it not? Amazing to me how hard this is for some to understand.

And so the war rages on...

Posted by: Dave Miller | July 14, 2009 4:40 PM    Report this comment

Just because I recommend a little light reading does not tell you anything about why I think what I do. By closing your mind you become the zealot not I.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 14, 2009 5:04 PM    Report this comment

I suppose this is more non-intellectual dishonesty, however everyone who has genuine interest and no agenda should check this out. I am only looking for agnostics before we jump off this scary cliff of spending billions on this alleged problem.

http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/surfacestationsreport_spring09.pdf

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 14, 2009 7:55 PM    Report this comment

Doggone global warming anyhow. Just a few thousand lousy years ago we had ice covering our State almost 2 miles thick. Then along come them pesky cavemen and look at it now. Why we're down to piddlin' few thousand square miles of ice and it's still melting. Oh woe, oh woe what shall we do. I know let's blame it on everything except the fact that it's a natural occurring phenomenon and happens with boring regularity.

Posted by: Duane Hallman | July 14, 2009 9:14 PM    Report this comment

Oh heck, maybe I'll take Roger's advice. But first I am going to go turn some AvGas into noise.

Posted by: Duane Hallman | July 14, 2009 9:29 PM    Report this comment

To suggest that one's position on global warming is indicative of ones overall politics is asinine! To think that one might have to like or believe as Rush Limbaugh does, simply because one finds fault with the conclusions of GW advocates is apallingly simple minded. One's position on this topic need have nothing to do with politics necessarily, even though it can be politically driven by some.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 14, 2009 9:38 PM    Report this comment

Just because a lot of people believe in something doesn't make it true and just because you don't believe in something doesn't make it false.

Posted by: Duane Hallman | July 14, 2009 9:42 PM    Report this comment

Right now, in the middle of the coldest winter in years down here in the South Pacific, it's hard to get all worked up about GW. Things change all the time - including my usual method of travelling to work, by bus, which swine flu, let alone the usual seasonal flu, makes less attractive with the thought of all the snuffly fellow passengers.

Posted by: John King | July 14, 2009 9:57 PM    Report this comment

Global warming is probably increased by political - and other - hot air. Later this morning I will step outside and suck in a slug of Ohio Valley air. I can hardly wait! I look forward to this on a daily basis. The ingredients get richer overy day! I am delighted by the fact that it is a natural occurence.

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 15, 2009 3:12 AM    Report this comment

There is a great deal of science on the part of those who disagree with AGW. On the other hand, a great deal of "science" and politics on the other. Why is there warming on Mars and other planets, aligned with earth's GW? Could the solar wind, as it drifts past the earth, bring our sooted CO2 across space to those planets? Or perhaps the sun is involved in some more direct way. There are serious studies of the 1200 or so temperature stations used to say we have AGW, that for many reasons read a few degrees warmer than they used to (due to paint used, urban locations, nearby construction). And make sure and check out the dearth of sunspots for the last 2 years... we're headed for a few really cold winters (look up Dalton minimum and Maunder minimum while at it).

Posted by: dave lunger | July 15, 2009 7:03 AM    Report this comment

There is also the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI). Much of current data is affected as the measuring stations (usually outside of the city), are encroached by suburban growth. Clearly data from 1850 was much less effected in their measurement. Two years ago in Denver we had the longest streak of sub-zero weather in ninety years (I think it was close to two weeks). We had six inches of solid ice on secondary roads that lasted nearly three months. This June was the coldest since 1920!

Posted by: eric hanson | July 15, 2009 8:51 AM    Report this comment

I think what we need to balance the conversation is a video with ice calving into the sea (has been doing that for 20,000 years), coupled with a lumbering polar bear with violin music (head down and depressed because it is only 10 below zero and not 50 below). Of course few argue that ice sheets are retreating..maybe we should all hold our breath (you exhale CO2 with each breath). What will the EPA do to me if they label CO2 a poison? What about my favorite fizzy drink? Beer? Every day millions of bars and restaurants switch out their CO2 bottles. The EPA recognizes Ozone as the worst pollutant at ground level during summer months. Electric motors generate Ozone! What if we ALL drove electric cars? How do we charge them up..it's either coal or nuclear! We couldn't build enough windmills to simply power Las Vegas! What do we do with all the batteries after their usefull life is over? These contain heavy metals. Just to make them would require significant new mining. Hmmm..maybe back to mass tran like trains? We could write this on "Trainweb".

Posted by: eric hanson | July 15, 2009 9:11 AM    Report this comment

Well put Charles. GA uses Jet-A and 100LL without any emission controls. The air is cleaner? Not from our side of the fence. Look, every use of non-renewable fuel reduses the future of a finite resource. The argument over blame only deflects that fact. Let us put our egos on hold and contemplate the future for our home and offspring. Untill "clean" electricity becomes a worldwide source of energy it would be wise to conserve what we use.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 15, 2009 10:32 AM    Report this comment

Print up bumper stickers "Carbon neutral - airplane instead of pets"

Posted by: Albert Robbins | July 15, 2009 11:11 AM    Report this comment

Speaking of Bumper Stickers: "My truck is greener than your Prius - I have been recycling it since 1963!" And it's still good for a few more decades. (1963 GMC)

Posted by: Peter Thomas | July 15, 2009 11:19 AM    Report this comment

Let's try a truth table:

(A) Suppose AGW is a real threat to civilization: (1) Even if we all immediately stop flying, we might ultimately all burn to death anyway, given the clearly miniscule contribution of aviation to AGW. Do you honestly believe aviation is so worthless that it will justify grounding everyone here in the US while they continued to fly unabated in most other countries? (2) If we continue flying fat, dumb, and happy, until there is no more economically accessible carbon-based fuel and nobody left to question the validity of AGW theory, won't mankind still have a much better understanding by that time (compared to now) of what we can and should do about AGW, versus what merely distracts us from an effective course of action?

(B) Suppose AGW is a farce concocted only for political gain: (1) If we in the US immediately abandon all post stone-age technology, destroy what is left of our economy, and sing Kumbyah while we freeze/starve to death in the dark, will it still have been the right thing to do? (2) If we continue enjoying our reckless squandering of precious fossil fuels until it is clear to all that AGW was as much a farce as the Ice Age prediction of the 1960s, then who besides Al Gore is really harmed by waiting a few more years or decades while reality sets in?

Posted by: Bruce Liddel | July 15, 2009 11:22 AM    Report this comment

Bumper sticker "CO2 makes trees green."

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 15, 2009 11:25 AM    Report this comment

Yo! Peter, How about "I save MONEY-Screw the PLANET"

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 15, 2009 11:44 AM    Report this comment

Mr Fries - How many hybrids and other feel-good vehicles will still be driving and performing perfectly good service 45 years from now? None. Do you have any idea what resources it takes to produce one new vehicle, particularly one laden heavy metals for batteries? The spin-off pollution caused by satisfying people's need to have a new car every couple of years? Think of all the mining required to dig those metals from the earth. All the fuel used by miners driving to their jobs and the those driving to work where they build more and more eco-friendly cars in factories using vast amounts of electricity generated probably by coal burning. And the shipping required to distribute cars designed to last only a few years. Then the problem of getting rid of all those eco-friendly cars again when their useful life of a few years is over. Go check your carbon credits against the real coat before condemning people using vehicles that were designed to last, to be repaired and be rebuilt at the cost of a few pounds of metal and rubber every couple of decades.

Posted by: Peter Thomas | July 15, 2009 2:23 PM    Report this comment

Mom dies early of lung cancer, but never smoked a day in her life. Dad at 93 still smokes like a chimney. Doc can't prove if second hand smoke, but.. Studies, mostly in Europe show brain tumor growth at ear point from cell phone use... but, darn, still can't prove it. Jaywalking skits interviewing teachers, students, etc. showed the dumbing of America in full swing - but ah, still so elusive to prove. Only 3.5 % of American public can pass the citizenship test - proof of national consciousness? though I'm sure with pilots it would be 100%..

To me GW will never be proved, and even if so, well, the existence of the flat earth society shows detractors will always be around.

I know it's fun to argue, but this is our planet and can't we just all (no, I won't go there, did you?!) just do our part to keep it the best we can? I just don't care if huge principles are proven quickly or not - I'm not waiting on science for anything.

Tho I don't drink I'll raise my iced tea in that spirit and get on with it.

Posted by: Dave Miller | July 15, 2009 2:51 PM    Report this comment

It's CYCLICAL. It's CYCLICAL. It's CYCLICAL. Repeat that until the Media gets off selling the political agenda and promotes cleaning, maintaining and taking responsibility for your own backyard. WE do NOT need the Congress mandating Mickey Mouse ways to further screw up the IRS with "Carbon Credits". Al Gore lies. He never counted Polar Bears in his life.

Posted by: George A Hutchinson | July 15, 2009 3:07 PM    Report this comment

ICED tea... let's see, that requires refrigerant, circulated through a system with copper piping and other metals (precious natural resources) by a compressor (more metal) powered by... electricity... Maybe a nice lukewarm sun tea would do better. Ahhh.

Posted by: Mike Holshouser | July 15, 2009 3:14 PM    Report this comment

I think we should prove something before we cripple an already wounded economy with carbon caps, e.t.c.. This increased cost of energy would be passed on through every single product you consume (it takes electricity to make everything). This hurts the poorer the most. Should we effect 300 million Americans by proposals that China and others won't match anyway? Our economy shouldn't take a back seat to a theory. There are bigger crisis than another degree warmer globally in the next fifty years! None of this is to say we throw up our hands and do nothing, but we certainly don't need to damage our economy irrepairably in the process. We have the largest coal and natural gas reserves in the world, and we will use them (better than going to war). There really isn't any clean energy except nuclear, and that has low but quantifiable risks. I am sick of the scare tactics of an irreversible, catastrophic, Earth-killing disaster from climate change. I was a proponent of the theory until I talked to a physicist who steered me to endless credible sources who portray things in the "thoughtful, center minded" manner Paul suggests. They'll tell you the Earth is warming modestly, and may continue to for some time (but not a catastrophe). Others, lean toward some modest cooling. Don't give everyone chemo-therapy because there is a posibility of cancer.. maybe, I think,seems right,feels good; unless you're darn sure of the diagnosis. They say the cure is often worse than the disease!

Posted by: eric hanson | July 15, 2009 3:38 PM    Report this comment

Nother bumper sticker:"Reduce CO2 emissions, gag a liberal." Now I really like that one!

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 15, 2009 4:13 PM    Report this comment

Right on! Let's keep on living as we always have untill a future generation cannot reverse or tolerate our legacy. We will be better able to deal with our neglect when we are gone.

This disarray of rationalizations and effete banter offers little. At least we now know why the clout of Governments is the only hope for a better future. I apologize in advance to those invested in oil and other fosil fuel producers. Also to freemaketeers who think economics will solve anything.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 15, 2009 4:19 PM    Report this comment

Touche', Stuart, touche'

Posted by: Roger Dugan | July 15, 2009 4:26 PM    Report this comment

I presume Mr. Fries that means you are in favor of building a large number of nuclear plants to get us away from fossil fuels?

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 15, 2009 4:27 PM    Report this comment

This concept of irreversiblity is another real falacy. The Earth has reversed and rereversed all on its own for 4.5 billion years. One might be a real control freak to think we have control of either ruining or saving a planet! It is cynical to imply that anyone skeptical of AGW (A as in anthropogenic), is invested in fossil fuels somehow. We're all invested in it in one way or another, from the plastic bag you carry your groceries in or the paper bag made from cutting trees. Freemarketeers? Ouch, they now believe in that in Russia and China, right? If our economy goes down the toilet, the last thing you'll be worried about is the temperature. I guarantee! Begin a transition toward the future..sure. Not many are opposed to that. Turning away from our indigenous resources to serve the IPCC...no mam! Look into it.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 15, 2009 4:41 PM    Report this comment

I thank you for your presumtion Stuart. If we don't we can rely on coal because it's cheap and easy. Three Mile never was a disaster untill it killed nuclear energy in this country. As a matter of fact I would like to see small nuclear power systems, off shore, delivering energy, gases, and clean water. How about THAT for a worthwhile investment. I live in a drought zone and the water alone is worth a look. The jobs couldn't hurt either.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 15, 2009 4:52 PM    Report this comment

I've never heard of an "off shore" nuclear power plant proposal. Doesn't sound too secure though. Just what are you reading there?

Posted by: eric hanson | July 15, 2009 4:55 PM    Report this comment

RIGHT! Let us flagellate ourselves and each other for handing the "future generation" a bill for our futilely attempting to fix something that was not a problem until the self serving opportunists declared it to be a problem in the grand tradition of Senator Proxmire! Let the Congress mill around, act confused, and make it look hard or they'll have to cut pay. Let the President anoint more Czars to multiply the incompetence of government and complete the socialization of America.

Posted by: George A Hutchinson | July 15, 2009 4:58 PM    Report this comment

I did leave questions. I refer to the "small" nuclear systems proven by our aircraftcarriers and submarines. You haven't read about it because I just now informed you of it. Where I live off shore oil production has been banned for quite a while. I propose the use of emty "rigs" and off shore islands. Like I said, the technology is proven the footprint is small and we need jobs. Now you have heard and please don't try to take the credit.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 15, 2009 5:33 PM    Report this comment

You can have all the credit you want for that one.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 15, 2009 5:40 PM    Report this comment

I want big honking ones all over the country. It will solve a huge problem in a very green way.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 15, 2009 6:09 PM    Report this comment

Thanx, Mr. Hanson. If this idea has merit, does anyone know a way to start it through the "system"? Without a creditable sponsor it is DOA.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 15, 2009 6:12 PM    Report this comment

>At least we now know why the clout of Governments is the only hope for a better future.

Mr. Fries, do you prefer the clout of sole dictatorships, ruthless communists, militaristic fascists, or just plain overbearing socialists who micromanage every facet of your life? Yeah, I reckon any one of those types of government could save the planet from its citizens.

Paul, you have really opened Pandora's box, here. Bet you won't do this again.

Posted by: Dennis Crenshaw | July 15, 2009 6:19 PM    Report this comment

Fact: There is no such thing as renewable energy or fuel. Check out the physical laws of thermodynamics. Even the Sun loses 1000's of tons of mass every second. Gone forever.

Posted by: Steve Hooley | July 15, 2009 6:27 PM    Report this comment

>>Paul, you have really opened Pandora's box, here. Bet you won't do this again.<<

I am a lot of things, but gutless is not one of them. Also, I have something you don't--a button to delete the personal attacks. So far, I haven't seen any of them, but I sense we're getting there.

I sure have seen some silly arguments that diminish our ability to think about this problem and that don't inform the discussion at all, such as...gag a liberal?

Very enlightening, gentlemen, very enlightening. Is it unreasonable to expect more? You tell me.

Sooner or later, everyone will have to confront this issue and my hope is that pilots can do so with clarity of thought, level-headedness and balance.

So I'll keep trying. Intellect may yet prevail.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | July 15, 2009 6:45 PM    Report this comment

I think they call that entropy. Good point. Even oil is quasi renewable if you wait some millions of years,though. Of course oil is stored solar energy when you get to the heart of the matter. All the alternative energy is fine..it just won't cover close to our requirements. I'm for nice, big, safer, nuclear energy. There hasn't been a single documented fatality related to a nuclear energy plant in the U.S. I think France gets 80% of their energy from nuclear plants. In Russia some plants are literally nuclear now, however (the green leafy type). We could create a lot of jobs just to start on the 40 nuclear plant permits currently waiting. Just beware of the NIMBY's!

Posted by: eric hanson | July 15, 2009 6:51 PM    Report this comment

Whoa! Mr. Crenshaw; Those are exactly the persons who could do it! Do you think a committee as in Congress, could? I was thinking how pro-active the European governing bodies have been lately. We, in the USA, should be leading, but for now we must follow. Still, it is a start. That is a good thing, no?

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 15, 2009 6:53 PM    Report this comment

I actually thought gagging a liberal had several social redeeming features. Just remember Paul, we need to laugh a little as we go through life.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 15, 2009 6:55 PM    Report this comment

Paul, is right to steer us toward non-personal conversation here. Fries, I hope you aren't suggesting that America forego it's slow inefficient Congress, in favor of an "efficient" dictatorship? Sometimes it is the plodding nature of our government that keeps us from going off the rails on a crazy train (present super-majority excluded).

Posted by: eric hanson | July 15, 2009 7:05 PM    Report this comment

Yes, Mr. Bertorelli They ARE huge! I, for one, thank you for letting me "vent". Unless there is still a need to flog me, I'll say goodnight.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 15, 2009 7:06 PM    Report this comment

Please don't make me vomit like the AOPA magazine headline this month. Although I must say, the magazine arrival was timely with the vote on the carbon tax being held June 26 in the US House of representatives. But allow me to digress for a moment. When I was in third grade (1968) the enviro movement was just beginning and I was eager to help, even though I lived in a state that had NO pollution problems (South Dakota). I made a sign for an activity we had at grade school and picketed on the sidewalk outside my home. The local newspaper even came to my classroom and did a story on us. Controlling pollution was a noble thing. A few years later, when I was a teenager and the enviro movement and the government began doing some serious meddling through the auspices of the EPA, I read about it and became concerned that the control being demanded by the enviros (and exercised by the UNELECTED BEARAUCRATS in the EPA) would never stop. Thirty years later my fears have been realized, the government is about to regulate and tax the very air that we breath (CO2 and water vapor are the main culprits of the global warming demon, right?). Think about that, the arrogant, control freak, career politicians want to tax the very AIR that you breathe!!!

Posted by: Dean Psiropoulos | July 15, 2009 8:10 PM    Report this comment

Mr. Fries, no need to flog you or anyone else in this forum. Your "venting" has provided seed for lively give and take. Have a good evening!

Paul, my biggest issue with confronting this issue, is that I don't believe there is an issue at all. I would dare say that a majority of the people in this country would agree. If there is an issue, it's that we're not using our own available resources to the maximum extent possible because of politics.

My biggest fear is that, within a few years, and I really hope I'm wrong on this, avgas(all gas) will be taxed to the point where it is no longer economically feasible to operate personal airplanes, or that we'll be regulated out of the skies(security reasons, environmental reasons, you name it). At that time I will indeed confront the issue. I'll clean out my hangar, take the wings off my flivver, and trailer it home to my garage.

At this point I feel like a dog chasing his tail. The comments and arguments have come full circle; and in fact are going in circles. My opinion has been made clear, and mercifully I think I have run out of things to say anyway. Finis.

Enjoy the freedom to fly while you still can!

My

Posted by: Dennis Crenshaw | July 15, 2009 8:19 PM    Report this comment

Sun tea, yum, but doesn't that require energy to process, transport, and deliver to the consumer. Nope there is no free lunch. By the way Mr. fries, what does one do with all the spent nuclear fuel rods from all those proposed power plants?

Posted by: Duane Hallman | July 15, 2009 8:33 PM    Report this comment

Thanx, Dennis back atcha!

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 15, 2009 8:35 PM    Report this comment

I'm not sure. I understand the French keep them in the basement. I watched above ground nuclear testing at Yucca Flats, Nevada and later felt undeground testing nearby. It sounds to me a good place to store them. Not a good place for Dude ranch anymore.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 15, 2009 8:51 PM    Report this comment

What ever happened to the NASA GW satellite program to actually measure GW gases from space? I recall a few months ago a satellite launch failed, are they going to launch a replacement? I hope we at least study this further prior to committing $trillions$ to a "solution" that may not work.

Posted by: Keith Blockus | July 15, 2009 8:55 PM    Report this comment

Mr. Blockus; Have you been following our little "klatch"? The gasses have fogged half of the East Coast by now. Space should worry!

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 15, 2009 9:13 PM    Report this comment

HI everyone When we all come to our senses we will realise that GW has nothing to do with our problem. People who do not fly (and that’s a major number) hate the flyers because they are envious and it’s this jealousy that has created our problem. It may be too late but we flyers have to realise that we need to be more open and start taking the non-flyers for trips in out planes. The politicians know that GA is a very very soft target and they want to ground them with a good successful campaign to gather more support before they take on the motorcar fraternity. The GW issue is there to keep our eyes off the real threat. Remember the original threat with closures of GA airport is still there just modified a bit. GW is there and there is little we can do about it Mother Nature will take care of it one way or another and we as humans may not survive the upheaval but then that’s too bad we should have prepared ourselves for the expected turmoil instead of arguing about how much CO2 is in the atmosphere.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | July 16, 2009 6:12 AM    Report this comment

I agree that the biggest threat to aviation is perception. Luckily, I think most people see the constant drum-beat on GW and they are shown belching smokestacks, and 10 lane freeways bumper to bumper. We seem to escape the visual barage fairly well, luckily. It has more to do with how they worked GA into the corporate excess message, that hurts. Unfortunate, since our grand standing congress only served to cost us more jobs! People still remember the good old days (just a few years ago), when many Americans were able to afford relatively cheap airfare and by all accounts were travelling for pleasure in a big way. They just don't understand corporate aviation (or the greater GA enterprise) much better than Congress, maybe.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 7:25 AM    Report this comment

Paul, my biggest issue with confronting this issue, is that I don't believe there is an issue at all. I would dare say that a majority of the people in this country would agree,<<

Well, not really. Polling is split on this. You can search the web as well as I can and we could do dueling links. No recent polls I've seen say that a majority thinks it's no issue. A George Mason poll in April found it ranked 10th of 11 issues queried, behind illegal immigration, above abortion. Another poll in the scientific community ranked it much higher as a concern. Low ranking is not the same as no issue.

For pilots, because our pursuit is hydrocarbon intensive, I think it's fair to ask people on both sides of the divide how they know what they know. Where does the information to form the opinion come from? Is it broad based or lasered in a single point, like volcanoes spewing CO2? Or flawed modeling? Or a cool summer you happen to be having? For many of us, I suspect we haven't undertaken the effort to strip away the ideological noise to form an honest, informed opinion.

And by the way, attitudes in other countries are significantly different than in the U.S. Much as we find it utterly annoying, some of them figure they have a stake, too.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | July 16, 2009 8:20 AM    Report this comment

Belly up to the bar boys. H.R. 2454 spreads trillions of dollars throughout the land. For openers, it directs the Secretary of the Treasury to sell $7,500,000,000 worth of GREEN BONDS to jump-start the program (Title I, Sec. 184). Twenty five other sections obligate funds ($20,732,500,000, most in round millions) starting before 2011.

A couple dozen other sections are designated to start in 2010 or immediately after passage, but are either open-ended fees or unspecified expenses.

Households earning less than 150% will not be adversely impacted. (Title IV Sec 431)They will receive monthly supplemental payments to make up for the increased costs due to the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. The Treasury is directed to reimburse the Social Security Administration for this as yet undefined expense. Doesn’t limit household definition to citizens or legal immigrants.

Title IV Sections 425 and 426 “protect” workers (No mention of relief for owners) displaced as a result of the Act. 70% of average weekly wage for up to 56 months, job search reimbursements, not to exceed $1,500 per worker, relocation allowance equivalent to three weeks wages, 80% of his/her monthly health insurance premium…

So, stop whining, forget about flying, and sign up for your apprenticeship training program to become a worker in our cleaner, greener collectivist future. Belly up, there’s going to be thousands of high paying green jobs as long as the Treasury can print money.

Posted by: Albert Robbins | July 16, 2009 8:50 AM    Report this comment

There is always a big picture, a BIGGER picture and so on. The smallest of them all is personal. We choose to obsess on flying. Others on weaving and so on. Nothing about obsession is rational. Our duty here is to try to connect a planetary event to an emotional feeling. One might say a spiritual connection to the cosmos. Since both of those is largely imaginary, is it within the scope of these pages to make any connections which satisfy? I think not.

Maybe if we gather together and share our frustrations and gratifications we will feel better (short term at best). Now for a little good news. The act of sharing is deeply spiritual.

IF we can overcome the immediate obstacals, economy and politics, the shared experience will satisfy. Share a plane, a hangar, a bucket of propwash, whatever. DO NOT GIVE UP. YOU CANNOT FIX A PROBLEM THAT IS AS LARGE AS GLOBAL WARMING. But if you can fly a little you can get above your troubles for a while.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 16, 2009 9:01 AM    Report this comment

Reading the comments on this thread brings to mind is the effect it may have on young people who read it. All of us who love to fly are concerned that the number of pilots continues to decline and that proportion of older pilots continues to increase. Getting young people engaged in flying is a key to reversing these trends, as efforts by the EAA and AOPA have long recognized. We sometimes fail to appreciate, though, the negative effect on young people’s interest in flying that results from our opinions. The harm comes less from any disagreement with evidence that human actions are contributing to climate change and more from the caricature of anthropogenic-induced climate change findings as a plot by Al Gore, environmentalists, liberals, Democrats, or whomever to change the world and dismantle everything pilots care about. This is not a message that young people find welcoming. They, like all of us, decide on whether they want to get involved in an activity based partly on whether they think they’d feel comfortable in the company of other participants. Surveys repeatedly have shown that climate change is one of the principal concerns of young people. How we talk and write about this and other issues can have effects that undo the best efforts of Project Pilot or Young Eagles.

Posted by: Robert Davison | July 16, 2009 9:48 AM    Report this comment

I have spent my whole life involved with science and engineering dealing with scientific inquiry and reasoning. My conclusions at this point is that there is little if any credible scientific evidence to support the conclusion that any man made global warming exists. As I have stated earlier there is no constant temperature in history and there have been many periods of higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere. To propose spending a huge piece of our national wealth on the pursuit of goal to change the climate is foolish and will have no effect. It will be to the detriment of our children and future generations. In my view people who advocate this are either disingenuous or ignorant and will if successful will go a long way towards destroying freedom and the American way of life. That's what we should be telling the youngsters, not trying in some tiny little way how we can do our part to make sunshine and rainbows. We can leave that up to nature and God.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 16, 2009 10:08 AM    Report this comment

Well put Mr. Davidson. One thing, the desire to fly and an intense interest in everything that zooms above us has no rational explanation. If you are active in these programs you understand that an airplane or flying in general is a broad field. (no pun intended) Those with real interest will see a challenge. Nurture the challenge and none will be lost forever. If you look up when a plane goes over, you are connected. That is what you do and so will they.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 16, 2009 10:18 AM    Report this comment

The AGW "theory" has been driven by funding and ideology from the start. The "science" is several decades old and the computer models are obsolete. Ref:

http://www.kusi.com/weather/colemanscorner/38609397.html

Posted by: Steve Hooley | July 16, 2009 10:33 AM    Report this comment

Welcome back Mr. Baxter. One thought, I agree but what we contribute must have some effect. If not on the Planetary cycle then what about the Human condition. Even if the Earth is too tough to tame, we will run out of resources and room. No?

Now for something different; What if AVweb provided a page arranged by ZIP codes, Where interested parties could schedule shared rides? Emty seats fill no tanks! That is cool. No?

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 16, 2009 10:43 AM    Report this comment

Few things make me as sad as a bunch of pilot who rely on the laws of physics, but bury their heads in the sand when the science threatens their weakened ability to think long term and of the big picture. I have been a pilot for more than 40 years and enjoy the freedom I feel when flying as well as the ability to use aviation as a tool to travel. I have exposed hundreds of young kids to aviation over the years and continue to try and excite every young person I know about airplanes. One of the things I enjoy most is explainign the science behind flight. That may be because I am a scientist myself. But according to many of the posts above, I am a patsy of some conspiracy group. As a paleoclimatologist I have spent 18 seasons in Antartica and several in Greenland and other ice sheets around the world researching isotopes of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and other elements. Through my careful analysis of these elements and their various isotopes during thousands of hours in the labs back home, my colleagues and I can see the direct evidence for accelerated warming over the last 140 years or so. These are repeatable results seen over and over and over again. You cannot find a single scientist in the field who has evidence/data that says otherwise. You can find scientists in other fields who have not done the research and looked at the data who feed the denial group their opinions. But as a scientist I deal with data and repeatable results.

Posted by: m.l. wilkerson | July 16, 2009 10:47 AM    Report this comment

(cont'd) 100 years ago if you would have told somebody in the middle of nowhere that there is a machine that can carry a person and fly through the air, they too would have said it was a hoax. If you would have asked them for an investment to develop this device they would have laughed at your scam. Why, because like so many who posted above they are ignorant to the reality and the evidence. The difference is that when the person saw an airplane fly, they would probably change their mind based on the data and repeatable results.

Now you can disagree with what to do about the global warming, that's everybody's job do talk about, but don't claim the data is wrong and the science doesn't exist. Unless you're a person who still corrects everybody (including the U-2 pilots) who say the earth is round and that 40 years ago today three men did not begin their trip to the moon, because it is all a hoax.

Posted by: m.l. wilkerson | July 16, 2009 10:48 AM    Report this comment

(cont'd)

Unfortunately too many people get their science from talk radio, rather than from a book or actual scientist. Hearing people claim that CO2 can't be the culprit because it is necessary for life reminds me of school yard debates when I was 7. For those who follow that logic I suggest you go and drink a pint of potassium. The element is absolutely necessary for life and cellular function, but be warned, you might have troubles with your cellular functions afterwards.

And for those who say government funded research is just there to forward the cause of the administration. You should blame Reagan then, he funded the majority of my paleoclimate research. Again, debate what to do, don't debate repeatable scientific results. But I guess everybody can choose to ignore the evidence when it is staring them in the face. It seems that many people did just that during the past 6 or 7 years with the economy and look where that got us. Instead, dare to be forward thinking, dare to look at the big picture, dare to use data to drive your thoughts rather than emotion. Perhaps we could all make smarter decisions just as we do in the cockpit when we let the facts of flying override our emotions when an emergency occurs.

Now I have to get going, I want to go flying this afternoon and I still have to grab the Stihl 044 and clear some trees from the back corner of my property. I suppose I'll have to tax myself and ride the bike into town another few days this week.

Posted by: m.l. wilkerson | July 16, 2009 10:49 AM    Report this comment

(Bob), The truth may or may not be a bucket of cold water, but it is what's needed. Blissful ignorance of it, or disregard of it in pursuit of a short-term gain (businesses pushing the green thing if they perceive it's popular and will make 'em a buck, or GA attempting to convince whom it may concern that it's trying to cut down on these stinkin' emssions, in order be allowed to continue the activity, as suggested by Ceri Reid) is dangerous and/or counterproductive in the long run and furthers the idea that everyone is onboard, regardless of where the truth of the whole matter falls.

By the way, since when is efficiency a new idea? There has always been an incentive to save money through efficiency, but that's now been labeled "green" and marketed as a whole new concept of how to live. I get the impression that much of what's touted as green has only a marginal improvement in efficiency over yesterday's stuff, but can require a significantly higher initial investment. Consider controllable props and retractable gear (efficient and expensive) vs. the fixed option (less efficient, less expensive) as a simple example that carries over to trying to make cars, ACs, etc. more efficient.

Posted by: Mike Holshouser | July 16, 2009 10:52 AM    Report this comment

(Mike) Ah, "the truth." As a scientist, I'm not very familiar with "the truth." Like m.l. wilkerson, I deal in data and repeatable results.

My point at this juncture simply is that a sure path to the demise of at least recreational aviation is to set up tests about whether someone can belong to the club. The dominant views on this thread suggest that one can be an environmentalist or a recreational pilot, but not both; one can have decided that the weight of evidence so far indicates that human activities contribute to global warming or one can be pilot, but not both; one can be a liberal or a pilot, but not both.

Regrettably, even Paul's launch of this thread really is problematic and exclusionary, "If you do call yourself an environmentalist and you like fooling with airplanes a little or a lot, well, you have a problem. You're living a paradox—sort of like the fine, upstanding judge or banker who gets falling down drunk on the weekends."

And, thus, our club keeps getting older and smaller.

Posted by: Robert Davison | July 16, 2009 11:06 AM    Report this comment

I am not sure where this whirled off into a vague spiritual, philosophical, cosmic, galactic conversation. Stuart, thank you for staying focused . I spent quite a few days reading this topic scientifically (I was given a bibliography just as a starter). I have seen Gore's presentation, it sounded good initially! To have a collective understanding of all data and conclusions available would require that I start getting payed for it. But I haven't heard one response to the link I posted above from anyone here. It takes an hour or two to read through. I would suggest all read it before further philosophizing though. It should be clear just from what we have said that there is reasonable doubt about the initial theory of GW. That ought to be enough to give pause to those saying "just say no to fossil fuel". Who cares what emotional ties to GW that youth may have BTW. If they don't want to fly because of there environmental concerns, don't fly. That seem like a flaky concern. None of us will be flying at the rate it is going, so it is irrelevant, anyway (right?). I have No idea what you are talking about fries, butterfly..be free..be free? http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse / don't skip the read simply because you discredit the title! I guess it takes a little outrage to be heard in this field, if you're skeptical.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 11:20 AM    Report this comment

(Cont'd) Mr. Wilkerson,now. You say in all your grand scientific adventure (and with all due respect), that there is evidence of accelerated global warming going back 140 years. You refute your own premise! That is MY point! If it did start 140 years ago, that precedes the industrial revolution by a long shot. If we're not tying data events to human changes in CO2 emmision, than it is natural global warming. If it started 140 years ago, it may have nothing to do with current human behaviors being exacibatory! In which case we're back where we started. I have not stated that there is no evidence of global warming...just, that as you point out yourself, if the data doesn't spike in reasonable coordination with our post industrial revolution, and actually was going up before, than CO2 can be seen skeptically as causative. You seem pretty emotional yourself here.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 11:45 AM    Report this comment

Unfortunately too many people get their science from politicians or other people who make movies, rather than from a book or actual scientist. Hearing people claim that CO2 is the culprit because there is "consensus" reminds me of school yard debates when I was 7. For those who follow that logic I suggest you go and follow the money. There are trillions at stake.

Again, debate what to do, ignore data that is "inconvenient". (Like the cooling since 1998 and solar cycles)

Posted by: John McGrew | July 16, 2009 11:53 AM    Report this comment

Trying to get the emotion out of our thought processes on these things seems all well and good, but you can't remove your previously held views/beliefs regarding big picture reality from the equation. Absolutes are of necessity the starting point that you compare your thinking and conclusions agaisnt. "God created the heavens and the earth" is foundational for some, while "We just are" might be for others. You can't take those things out of your thinking as you seek to come to conclusions (oh man, no grenade, 500lb bomb. No Paul, wait, not the delete button! AHHHHHHHH!).

What, I'm still here? : ). My 2 cents on the intellectual, data only thing, as devoid of any "ideology". Sorry if it's vague or tangential, Eric. I'm thinking it's not possible, or if it is, it can lead to some serious error. But then "error" is a very subjective term if all we have is our minds to turn it about in, isn't it?

Posted by: Mike Holshouser | July 16, 2009 11:56 AM    Report this comment

(Eric) As I get older I read less and think more. If you must be told what to think then these are pages full of ideas. What you conclude is up to you. I have concluded that the ego and emotions of bloggers drive the submissions more than their intellect. As such I feel, as others, from time to time a little grounded reality helps to clear some of the debris. You see, I hope, when all is read and said the brain will be enriched. As I am obsessed with aviation, since birth, I love to share with the other boobs with the same affliction. If feeling good about flying is "where youre at" thanx for the repartee.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 16, 2009 11:57 AM    Report this comment

Mr. Wilkerson as you point out, if the warming started 140 years ago, it seems like something was already going on. We weren't burning fossil fuels then. I for one never said there is no evidence of global warming, or even that our burning fossil fuels and concommitant CO2 emmisions have no effect. I am saying extrapolating that to a planetary crisis is another matter. Showing that we are the dominant cause as humans is also a matter. What was warming us on an accelerated basis, as you put it, 140 years ago...? It matters not what politics I am either. I am an independant. I also am a scientist B.S. Aeronautical Science, anyway. I am sure you are highly credentialed. Scientists have been known since the very term was coined and described, to have a peculiar affinity for their own theories. It is best to be humble when a "Scientist", as the whole process has shown that some repeatable experiments don't actually account for the unknown. Einstein had his fudge factor for a steady state universe. He wanted a static universe. Then Hubble came along with red shift and an expanding model. Then now we have dark matter&energy. The feedback mechanisms, as you know are complex enough that the computer models vary widely on which negative and positive feedbacks you allow for. For all we know the albedo from clouds and particulate induced clouds could be a negative feedback. The conclusion's are premature is all I say.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 12:11 PM    Report this comment

As a meteorologist, I'm familiar with the "science" being touted by the bureaucrats, but I'm also familiar with the rest of the science that the bureaucrats and media largely ignore, the science that refutes any significant contribution to "global warming" by man. It's a natural phenomenon that's been happening for eons and will continue to happen with or without any meager attempts on our part to control the climate. By the way, if you want green, INCREASE the CO2 in the atmosphere - plants love it. Satellite photos have shown an increase in the greening of the planet since CO2 levels have risen.

Posted by: John Hughes | July 16, 2009 12:25 PM    Report this comment

Yes,fries..you are welcome to friendly repartee. I like flying for all the aesthetic, romantic, experience that most do. I also like to know how to read a complicated takeoff distance chart with skill and precision. I like, as Mr.Wilkerson, the joy of explaining why humid air is lighter than dry air (has a lot to do with combined atomic weight and the H in H20)for instance (and thinkers get this wrong if they haven't read their chemistry). The effect of induced drag on adverse yaw..e.t.c. Turns out you need both left and right brains (hemispheres) working to be a good pilot. I like that requirement. Many pilots get involved with flying because they are thrill seekers, and like risk. This often turns out bad, I like to be a risk manager (i.e. I try to lower the odds against me). Reading is as important as thinking, fries..one needs condensation nuclei as it were.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 12:42 PM    Report this comment

Thank you John, this thread has gotten long and I said much the same earlier. Did you read this thread from the beginning? I and others would appreciate a meteorologist's perspective, I took a full year of meteorology...latent heat of condensation,vorticity, wouldn't imagine how much calculus you can work into cyclonic systems. I have a well known book of before and after pictures of Colorado seperated by 100 yrs. It is startling when you compare two photos taken from the same perspective 100yrs apart; how much the forest density and height of trees has increased (consistantly..but still just short of an experiment). I would consider this one of the Earth's negative CO2 feedbacks, perhaps (in of itself, probably not rapid enough..but combined). Why are we not putting pressure to stop burning the Amazon? This adds CO2 and removes a mitigating factor simultaneously in transpiration. Why don't we here as much about that anymore (rainforest depletion). I reiterate, I don't deny that there is some contribution of man/CO2 it is a matter of how much. Ninety percent of natural global warming is by water vapor (we need this GW to live here, along with the magnetosphere).

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 1:11 PM    Report this comment

The ONLY way that a private plane has an environmental impact is if it crashes (CFIT). Pilots know that Dew Point (water vapor) is a 1000 times more relevant to temperature changes than CO2. Anyone who thinks that CO2 is controlling the environmental temperature needs to get a grip.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | July 16, 2009 2:07 PM    Report this comment

What really amuses me is how we're supposed to be confident enough to reorganized our entire society based upon the results derived from scientists with computer models using mostly synthesized data for predicting the weather in 2000 months while other scientists with computers models using actual observed data cannot tell me with any confidence exactly what the weather is going to be like in 2000 minutes.

Posted by: John McGrew | July 16, 2009 2:56 PM    Report this comment

Considering the gov't, liberals, congress, socialists, public schools, greenies, environmentalists, the sun, a hoax, the media, whew - I feel like a centipede confused to which leg comes after which to just walk.

With what I think was the original intent of the blog, I don't find any conflict in my life that I fly for fun and am maybe, an environmentalist.

I offer that some on this thread come across as purists when talking about this difficult subject, and that is really what causes the arguments. It's the easy or lazy choice and seems to convey more power to stand firm on a subject, swatting down any acceptance of differing viewpoints or ideas. Feeds the ego nicely - less effort in those 'weak' areas that might show vulnerablity - even tho to me being a purist conveys a narrowmindedness.

Scouting taught me early on to leave only footprints from a campground, respect wildlife, rivers, and learn, always learn from our wonderful earth. It's an abstract - I can't really convey it. But if that makes me an environmentalist, so be it. I also drive a small motorhome at 15 mpg, but it takes us to dark skies to camp and set up the telescope. Such joy I am blessed with with my family. And we leave only footprints.

So I agree with Paul that my concern lies with the jobs, community services, etc. of society as vital issues and to concentrate on autos, powerplants, etc. for their huge emmisions and pollution. I find conservation - and flying - very rewarding.

Posted by: Dave Miller | July 16, 2009 3:14 PM    Report this comment

Mark, CO2 has a known effect (relatively weak) on understood global warming. Let's avoid exageration here since the entire issue is over 1.2 degrees of statistical global warming over the last century (in other words "ten times" would be more near accurate.) 1000% percent though? More to the point I actually read a new link provided here by Stuart I think. Here it is again: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/surfacestationsreport_spring09.pdf (copy and paste it or it is active above in Stuarts post). This is significant reading and took me only a half hour. When we are talking about one degree, I now understand why Stuart was making such a big deal about errors in U.S. measurements (and probably still the most reliable in the world). Due to urban development..these errors clearly exacerbate the "heat island". That term usually refers to an entire metro environment for macro-effects. These amount to cummulative micro-effects. When the topic is a small number, I think we need much better quality readings, and protocols. One should examine some of this,if I have the patience to have studied this boring material..you all should to. We can't have a good discussion if everyone is too lazy to read stuff dropped in your lap. Don't wave a hand and say "oh..it must be politicaly motivated, or biased" necessarily (maybe it is).

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 3:17 PM    Report this comment

(Cont'd) Even if you go in thinking it is biased, you might find it thought provoking. Thank you stuart (let's keep political comments from ruining credibility here, though). No stranglings (you might be strangling me in some instances)!

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 3:19 PM    Report this comment

Dave, I am a proud Coloradan, and consider myself an environmentalist as much as anyone else who would claim that. To say that I am skeptical of a man made CO2 disaster, has nothing, nada, to do with me being an environmentalist. That needs to sink in. Nixon inacted the EPA for godsakes. Let's all attempt to at least limit our political inferences..it does bring down the level a lot! It isn't lazy to read Dave. I believed in AGW for twenty years, now I am agnostic. Maybe you are the purist! Why you read some of the links provided. We've all heard the other side from every media for twenty years. I just finally put some effort into it, and I see some weakness in the general argument now. I have clearly stated that I HAVE started to look at another side. Where do you stand in that relative effort?

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 3:31 PM    Report this comment

It's my understanding this thread is for all readers - I don't know who you are mister, but I'm not writing to argue. Your interpretation of my post is frightening - I will not respond again to anything you have to say.

Posted by: Dave Miller | July 16, 2009 3:46 PM    Report this comment

Wow!I guess you see this as just saying what you believe in with no consideration of another view. I was the same opinion as yours for twenty years, and deigned to consider other facts. I only hoped you might as well. I have twenty years lapping up the other side. Why wouldn't you even attempt to consider another side. Your reaction is the scarry one. It is the unthinking, unquestioning one. You equate being an AGW proponent as the defacto environmentalist position. Rare as it may be, one can believe that carbon is not the enemy and believe in everyother environmental position. Everyone else that questions a global disaster is NOT an environmentalist,I hear (maybe I just missunderstand,and sorry in any case). Arguing is kind of a major point of our entire justice system by the way, you might engage in it. In most cases people are arguing on these threads. Start up the 15mpg camper and enjoy:)

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 4:01 PM    Report this comment

On a more positive note, I just listened to a lengthy and fascinating interview with Boone Pickens about natural gas as a fuel for vehicles. I know little about the ground vehicles using this. Perhaps there is someone out there that has some familiarity with some fleet cars. He's talking our heavy truck fleet for conversion and talking some very attractive prices per gal. equivalent for using natural gas. It's clean, it's a good price. If it could be done for our GA fleet it could make the pols happy, the greenies happy, and the rest of us who are looking to save some money happy. Everybody wins!

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 16, 2009 5:02 PM    Report this comment

I am astonished at the anti-liberal flak in these discussions. It is illogical. I do not care if a person is a conservative or a liberal...I like to think that maybe - just maybe - I do not have cement between my ears. I am going to surmise that a great percentage of your elected representatives are lawyers? They would possibly understand the old law school dictum, "We as students of law are interested not in truth, but in proof." The problem is that we do not have time to sort out the "proof". "Nero fiddled while Rome burned."

Here are some facts as I see them: 1. Pollutants ARE destructive to human health. 2. Large portions of the world's oceans are now DEAD. They are ABSOLUTELY DEAD. If the oceans die we all die. 3. We are going to run out of oil. 4. The infrastructure and jobs associated with oil will not easily succumb to the above realities.

All aspects of daily life -including aeroplanes - MUST change.

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 16, 2009 5:54 PM    Report this comment

I think we should acknowledge that there exist the category of those of us who HAVE looked at the science and find it lacking. As I was taught in high school, science is coming up with a theory then testing it and seeing if the facts support the theory. The climatologist have been modeling, and the data does not support the model. If you ask them how many data points they need to prove their models they will tell you it is in the 50 to 100 year range. They would consider it extraordinary if they could do it in 10-20 years. Therefore they have not had enough data to prove their models are working properly. Secondly, the earthe has cycled thru these temperature ranges very regularly every 150,000 years. The earth was also warmer during the Medieval warming paeriod and they were growing grapes in Greenland. Third, there is correlation between CO2 and Global temperatures but the causality is not there and all the evidence indicates that CO2 LAGS warming rather than causing it. Fourth, the earth has gotten colder since 1998 and has performed exaclty the opposite of what was projected. Finally there has been released an internal censured EPA report that questions the whole manmade GW premise and the 'science'that has been used. If you want to read up on it yourself I would reccomend a book called 'the Deniers' by Solomon, google many of Lord Monctons presentations and I can send the EPA censored report to anyone who wants it.

Posted by: Henry Perry | July 16, 2009 6:17 PM    Report this comment

Charles, The sun will go out one day also. Should we just give up? It is not anti liberal flak. Some of us think the liberals are trying to destroy our great country. Al Gore the man who will not come out and debate his ridiculous assertions is the postal child of the global warming hysteria. It isn't flak. It is a serious dislike of charlatans.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 16, 2009 6:25 PM    Report this comment

Stuart: I believe it not unreasonable to say liberals and conservatives have within their ranks elements that would destroy your country. BUT they both have elements that would like to save your country (and the world for that matter}.I have little time for "broad-brushed labelling" which by its nature would discredit (or credit) people on the sole basis of the label applied to them. I suggest that such might be convienent, but it is also unwise. I certainly do not say you should give up. I would have to be totally nutters to say that. I AM saying that there is evidence aplenty to indicate that unpleasant things are happening...and we had all better pay attention to them. As for Al Gore, he rode to fame on the back of an Inuit who had already done the work...but said Inuit did not have access to the political machinery possessed by Gore.

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 16, 2009 7:16 PM    Report this comment

Charles,you've come in to a hotbed. Have you read all the posts? I have made many comments in attempt to de-link opinions on AGW from being one partie's or another. Two posts above yours I suggested we get off any political attachments. The first statement you have: "I am astonished at the anti-liberal flak in these discussions". Just when I wanted to get to facts another political linkage. Assuming your four numbered points are factual (I'm not sure about all that), you aren't living the life (not close). I don't here suggestions from you (political whining is your STARTING message). Lastly, forget about aviation as a transportation mode. If you want to be more energy-light, you HAVE to give up the luxury of flying...period. It simply has an energy cost that is higher to get you there quick. Fine; we'll all be packin' onto an india-like train if we don't stop procreating (that means hanging off the exterior). Every single problem in humanity boils down to our numbers. Whatever any of our "carbon footprints", it is geometrically multiplied with each generation. Do your part; don't have kids. Everyone hates to here the real bottom line: when a population of anything gets to high..nature finds one way or another to get balance back in order. That can be war, famine, or N1H1,bird flu, whatever. Nature abhores imbalance. Our demise isn't global warming, it is just nature restriking a balance. War often comes first, than the pandemic (world war I is just the latest example).

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 7:22 PM    Report this comment

(Cont'd..and with Paul's ever-loving regret..) It is time to be selective on immigration, for starters. We, can't solve the world's problems by proxy. In other words, "if your country ain't cuttin' it, come here". Next, if you have more than two kids you pay an "impact tax". I know it is the "land of the free" but in the end..nothings free. Octo-mom is irresponsible, and if you can't provide a future for even one kid, you shouldn't bear a child. Nobody wants to here the bottom line. We just hold onto our myths. Yes, yes..we are nearing "peak oil". The price will get so high that we will have to change. Where is the crazy future thinker saying our airliners will be ion-drive or something JPL-like. Ain't happinin' in our life time. I read aviation pubs profusely, and the future articles are mostly pipe-dreams like the one where we're all flying around like the Jetson's. We as pilots (many of us anyway), know this is not going to end well. It isn't Al Gores famous "hockey stick" curve. It is the simpler Malthusian parabola.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 7:35 PM    Report this comment

I will say that I have much respect for poster Wilkerson. He could have made the period of time shorter, and he could have probably said (truthfully?) that the stats are rising. He would not have been lying. He chose to be very honest. His argument might have been better had he referred to the rate of more recent increase. Now, Eric - I really don't know where you are coming from and perhaps that does not matter. I thought I made it abundantly clear that I do not care for political linkage.

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 16, 2009 7:46 PM    Report this comment

Sorry (don't throw tomatos). Are people aware that there are more people alive on the planet right this day, than have EVER lived in human history (this is simple math..area under the curve)? It is true. What do you really think the problem is?

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 7:47 PM    Report this comment

Charles, I consider myself politically independant. It just sounded like you were complaining about it at the same time you interjected that, again. I think actually you were just saying what I was, though, actually. My bad, maybe? I just want to here response to Stuarts l'il link and mine, and anyone else that brings substance to the table:)

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 7:55 PM    Report this comment

Eric my friend, I would prefer to consider that the problem is not the number of people, but the way in which we view and use energy. In the meantime I will continue to fly...but I will seek efficiency -this with the knowledge that much can accrue to science from advancements in the world of aviation. I dream of, and support, a bright future of efficient power use and wonderful aircraft of materials barely considered at the present time. Anyone interested in a 50 pound J-3 Cub equivelent which can still match the gross weight of today's J-3?

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 16, 2009 8:05 PM    Report this comment

How much CO2 would we get rid of if half of us weren't here? That's a pretty obnoxious question isn't it? Think about it.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 16, 2009 8:09 PM    Report this comment

Charles, I am sorry about the cumbersome nature of language at times. I don't have serious issue with anyone here, becase there are going to be things coming to a head in the next century (hopefully not decade). You are Not seriously suggesting a 50 pound piper cub, though? Doesn't that mean we need 50 ounce sets of golf clubs (gotta have some humor here) We had a human powered plane (I think the "Gossamer Condor"). It wasn't fifty pounds. No doubt lots of grand human scientific unimaginable accomplishments will come. We have gone from the Newspaper to Twitter, though. Soon we won't know how to spell, and then meaning will eventually be lost. All passage of time does not bring progress!

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 8:19 PM    Report this comment

I am reminded of the late great Dr. Libby who was found crying at news of the first atomic fission. Although a brilliant physicist he would only teach Chem 1 and was sure of the conservation of matter. Then the carbon disappeared. What would his students think of him now? I guess when know it all you shold keep it a secret. Right Eric? Some very solid info has been tossed around and idea is to listen and find a way use it. An argument need not be a debate.

A little to chew on. Climatology is as old as modern man. Still, we are using new tools and finding new stuff. When you confront a man's life work with worthless babble he may get ruffled. You seem to be good at it though. That was not a complement. When stomach is full time will digest. Same for brain.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 16, 2009 8:22 PM    Report this comment

Good luck with this one Eric.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 16, 2009 8:26 PM    Report this comment

Why doesn't anyone take a half-hour to read Stuart's link? Why? Why won't someone else weigh in on the fact that if Wilkerson is making a big deal about "accelerated global warming" being evident 140 years ago, then anyone with their "lights on" can see that that presupposes another cause than human activity? At least the strong possibility that our billion-year old history of vast climate change was not human caused. We all just think our human existance has such longevity and mastery of the world. We seem to like the thought that we are even capable of putting a dent in the world that lasts one 1/160th of the dinosaurs. We love even more the concept that we can "save" it.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 8:35 PM    Report this comment

Well Stuart, I can't answer to Libby. However General Groves generally hung out at my grandfathers home. It was not a personal call for tea.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 8:46 PM    Report this comment

Gen. Groves was a hated man. Your grandfather's home must have been a good place to hang out. My grandfather hung out with other riverboat captains including Sam Clemens. My grandfather was a convicted pedophile.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 16, 2009 9:13 PM    Report this comment

Not so important how people felt emotionally about Groves. He accomplished the feat. I guess I'll be non-plussed at your last inclusion. Be free butterflies...be free!

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 9:17 PM    Report this comment

Ooops..you say "other river boat captains". My grandpa knew a different general (not captain). I just can't follow your thinking much there fries. Groves was in charge of the Manhattan project, which you know since Libby talked about the danger of fallout (as well the father of radio carbon dating). Who's babbling? Can we talk about poor GW data gathering? It isn't about Wilkerson is it? OOOOh! Isotopes! You are having indigestion. Not sure what you are bringing to the debate, but your arguments are non-existant.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 9:26 PM    Report this comment

Excuse my presumtion Mr. Hanson. I thought we were bragging about homes and DNA. There goes that debate thing again. When using member to stop train, worse place is cutoff.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 16, 2009 9:38 PM    Report this comment

Ok Paul. I meant to dig you out of the sand. Admittedly not in the manner in which you intended; valiant nonetheless! Great topic, and I really didn't forget your premise. I just think the real issue is what we will do when economically available fuels are not available for GA or Part 121. Maybe a new thread about that would be more fruitfull (not that this hasn't been fun)? I heard about a company in my town that synthesizes (in a test plant), a coal originated jet fuel. Interesting? yes, I think so. I'll try to find the website in my million-burgers-sold "favorites list"! I think this thread might well continue on healthfully, all not withstanding.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 9:51 PM    Report this comment

Having been cutoff, do you prefer to eat yours with Dijon or Frenches...fries.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 10:05 PM    Report this comment

When my grandfather used coal oil in the lanters the "chimleys" needed frequent cleaning. Help me out. Iv'e run out of ChapStick. Have you found a good substitute?

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 16, 2009 10:22 PM    Report this comment

I am not familiar with "lanters or chimleys", yer on your own..but I think you know better how to use chapstick. After use be careful around lanters,You might find your cosmos. Great fun with your "reparte"?

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 10:48 PM    Report this comment

I realy must get a spel checer.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 16, 2009 11:01 PM    Report this comment

We thought global warming was a threat to humanity, a spell checker can't help you.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 16, 2009 11:07 PM    Report this comment

We? Are there others without ChapStick? You are right on about my need for help. You must understand I'm old, forgetful, uneducated, feeble, and ugly. Oh, before I go to the home, how did you do on your instrument check ride with your E6-B in that old taildragger?

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 16, 2009 11:58 PM    Report this comment

Your tail IS draggin' "L Dub" (no offense to "G Dub"). I am just glad I wasn't your I.P.! I hate to think how you use an E6-B.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 17, 2009 12:08 AM    Report this comment

I am still waiting "L Dub".......while you consult your alien checklist.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 17, 2009 12:14 AM    Report this comment

While I must admit this is a classic....help me Mr. Wizzard! Please..

Posted by: eric hanson | July 17, 2009 12:22 AM    Report this comment

People always miss the obvious: CO2 and warming IS GOOD FOR BOTH PEOPLE AND PLANTS. Imagine the world colder and very little CO2. Plants die off and people follow.

Since the world's temp always changes, life has to ADAPT. It's a dumb idea to propose that we try to eliminate change on the planet and even a dumber idea to actually believe that we can control it.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | July 17, 2009 10:05 AM    Report this comment

Well done Mark me thinks there is someone thinking like me. That is if I understand you about the GW is going to happen regardless of what we arrogant humans think. As one King of England demonstrated when he took his Throne to the seaside and commanded the waves to stop moving. He did this to show that even a good person is unable to change the course of nature. We humans need to understand that unless we stop putting so much effort into proving GW is real and start funding ways to ensure that we as a race all 7 billion of us will survive whatever happens. I love my flying. When I’m up there looking down I can’t help to wonder just what a beautiful world this really is and I just love taking others especially non-flyers to experience that feeling. Does it matter what fuel I use or how much it is if I can afford it I will be flying and I really do not need anyone trying to curtail that for any reason. Ask any sportsperson to give up their sport for any reason and see their reaction. Don’t kid yourself fossil fuel for internal combustion engines is not the sole user of oil. Clothing for example uses 16% of world oil production. So if you are really serious in trying to save the world then get your clothes off and live naked, move to the tropics preferably near the sea or lake to save heating and cooling fuels and walk everywhere.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | July 17, 2009 10:52 AM    Report this comment

Even if GW is inevitable, even if it is a natural cycle, man-made pollutants are a serious concern. So are cigarettes, but there will always be people who live in denial and smoke anyway - and then want the public purse to pick up the tab for their health care. We will always have people who will happily use oil and who will (living in denial) pollute - as long as it does not "appear" to impact them in a seriously negative way. B. Franklin nailed it when he stated words to the effect, "Thank God I am a reasonable man, I can find a reason for anything I want to do!" We will run out of oil. We need new solutions. We do not need a shell game of "new" that is simply a re-packaged "old". The future is fabulous...but it will not be ours unless we prepare for it now.

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 17, 2009 11:39 AM    Report this comment

Well put Mr. Elliot. I opine however, you will get many words of follow up. Hope not.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 17, 2009 12:46 PM    Report this comment

I have had a lifetime (sixty years) with some oddball scientists or another drumming up some major issue that “MAN” has caused or is causing a catastrophe only to find that it was a lot of hogwash. There are enough people out there carrying banners declaring “The end in nigh” I don’t think that we live in denial Mr Elliot we still have other thing to think about before we get our knickers in a twist over what effects an increase in CO2 will have. We can talk about the pollution of the seas (sewerage) and the radical destruction of rain forests. These two issues are our life blood or should I say oxygen. Do you think that America is running the world because if you do you better get your head out of the sand and realise that China and India are bigger than you and are about to become developed countries with all the consequences that, that entails. Both have nuclear weapons and either one can flatten both America and Russia without a sweat but their contribution to pollution of the seas will far outstrip anything the western countries have done or will do. Africa is about to rear its head in the same manner.

The most serious issue that is facing mankind at this moment in time is POVETY. And until we can bring that under control the pollution issue will continue to rise.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | July 17, 2009 3:23 PM    Report this comment

Well Bruce, there is a book out there titled (as I recall) "The Post American World" which you might enjoy. I do not believe America (I really do not like the name because so many countries are from America) runs the world. She is not capable of doing so. BTW you could have added Brazil to your list. We (The West) have enjoyed much by exploiting poverty elsewhere...and made deals with the Devil to get energy, raw materials and markets) But we digress, do we not? We stray off-topic.

It is interesting that you evidently assume that I am from A'mer'ca!

Assuredly if we start off onto poverty we will truly open a "Pandora's Box" of messy stuff.

Anyone like the concept of the J-3 Cub that weighs 50 Lbs. empty, but can carry enough to match the current gross weight, and do so with very little (but very different) fuel?

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 17, 2009 4:22 PM    Report this comment

Book is The Rise of the Rest by Fareed Zakaria. Theme is basically economic, political and miltary challenges posed by China, India and others in the new century.

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | July 17, 2009 4:52 PM    Report this comment

Hey Paul, I think you just nailed it! Thanks!

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 17, 2009 5:00 PM    Report this comment

Risking perhaps the Wrath of All, or at least some, I see the war of 'my dad can beat up your dad!' continues, now with poverty added to the list. 'Ah, the serenity of the certain' as Paul eloquently said in the blog.

I wanted to set up the Fried Egg stand out on our sidewalk today next to our neighbor's lemonade stand, since anything over 112 degrees usually gets eggs at least over medium - folks love 'em. GW or not, I'm inside on the computer -

For me the most serious issue facing mankind (wow, how informed I am, listen up) is a lack of love - but whoa, what?, hey, pretend I didn't say that - how'd the Bears do? did they kick Butt?!

Since I fly my homebuilt, I have it maybe easier to explain to folks than others, referencing our perception problem in the blog, that this airplane cost no more than their SUV, gets about 25 mpg, and insurance (liability only) is not bad. So after the person goes up for a smooth ride and expert landing, ahem, they hopefully don't see private planes as rich folks' playtoys, tho some may be. I'll keep trying at least to convey it. Happy flying everyone.

Posted by: Dave Miller | July 17, 2009 5:01 PM    Report this comment

Dave, there is not enough kindness in the world. There is more than enough self-interest.

To their detriment, many a pilot has swaggered around under the aura of having money...i.e. "Gee Mr Pilot, it must be nice!"

Aviation (light aviation) will always be an easy target until we as pilots actively pursue aviation as something for the "ordinary" person. Obviously, some organizations have been trying to do this.

BTW the EAA eHotline available this date has interesting notation of remarkable battery developments ... but I for one, have not yet noted costs of same.

As per the motto of the Prudential Insurance Company, "The future belongs to those who prepare for it."

To which I (if you don't mind) add, "No preparation, no future".

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 17, 2009 5:49 PM    Report this comment

Now that's the spirit we could use more of! Thanks Mr. Miller. No politics, no grandstanding, no foot-in-mouth chest pounding, just making friends one flight at a time.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 17, 2009 5:50 PM    Report this comment

Thanks, lw, and I agree completely, Charles that actually, everything we do in the present forms what will be in the future. Awesome idea when you think about it.

And I think we'll need that 50lb. J3 if we go to batteries - at least now, eh? But pistons just may end up one day as paperweights - so I'm in for whatever works and helps remove the 'stinger' we have planted in the middle east like Boone P. and others are working towards.

Posted by: Dave Miller | July 17, 2009 6:18 PM    Report this comment

Help me. I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 17, 2009 7:03 PM    Report this comment

Not meaning to disrespect anyone, but that title "the Post American World" (title was corrected?), may be the reality that AGW staunch supporters unwittingly (or wittingly) desire.Before people say we are trying to preclude that by preperation, I advocate future technologies that are energy-wise. I do not think that failing to utilize all our indigenous resources, including natural gas and coal, either will happen or is wise. If only as an obvious transition to what comes next. It is obvious we need to lead in the future products that will be commonplace in coming decades. Subverting the U.S. by making coal/gas uneconomical will not allow the vibrant economy that is required to lead in anything.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 17, 2009 8:04 PM    Report this comment

Eric, contact me please at bbaxter@foxvally.net

Posted by: Stuart Baxter | July 17, 2009 8:17 PM    Report this comment

Morning Sorry Charles if I assumed you were American it was not intentional. Talking about books can I suggest 1984 by George Orwell? Pity his timing was 30 plus years out but looking around today we seem to be close to his description. My real concern is that minorities are been heard and responded to more than necessary to the determent of the majority. Here in England small groups have the tail and are wagging the dog trying to get the population to ride bicycles instead of cars and GW servers their purpose. As for flying there are lots of small pressure groups trying to close all airports including internationally ones. Parliament and for that matter the American President and Governments are elected by a minority not a majority. The majority is too epithetic to even care and this is the same regarding GW. We can go into a variety of what’s right and wrong putting forward points and counterpoints but to what purpose.

The real issue is still the pollution of the sea and mass destruction of rain forests because if we cannot change that no amount of reduced carbon will help. We need the seas and forests to change the CO2 to oxygen. Without which we will not live. Restore the forest and seas, will be the best course of action.

Finally tell me where does an aeroplane or for that matter a car destroys life in the seas or cut down large sections of rain forest. Major efforts are needed to restore the seas and forests.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | July 18, 2009 3:47 AM    Report this comment

The situation re: aviation in England has been dire for some time. I recal a good article in "Pilot" where a rural pilot said, "If you want to enjoy flying, stay away from airports"!!! There is a horrendous lack of knowledge among the general populace concerning the death of the Oceans (pending). It is an extremely serious problem. The death of the rain forests has been better advertised, although the destruction of the densest biomass forests (the west coast of North America) has received far less publicity. It is quite true that financial oligarchies have far too much to do with government...but the average person is too busy trying to keep a job, raise a family, pay the bills etc. It seems to be a part of human nature that leaders become perhaps too self-serving; there is an addiction to the elixir of power. Aeroplanes are just one of the areas (all are inter-linked) where action is needed. I think it fair to say that from aviation accrues much science that can assist in other areas. Man - made pollutants are insiduous. It is said that the average man today has about 1/2 the sperm count of his grandfather. If so, then mother nature may well do what humans (who seem to universally be living in LaLa Land) seem unwilling/unable to do...take the needed action to fix things. If we don't fix matters, she may well fix us!

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 18, 2009 7:05 AM    Report this comment

Thank you Charles for opening my eyes to see that we have being pulling in the same direction just different songs.

We may think we are a voice in the wildness but we need to keep shouting and telling people that if we (humans and all of us) can reverse the trend of damage to our lungs (seas and forests) our car and aeroplanes would not make a difference because the seas and forests will be in a position to absorb more CO2 releasing more Oxygen. Global Warming is happening because our lungs are seriously damaged and desperately in need of repair.

I work with a lot of young engineers and when I explain to them that our sewerage (even when it’s processed and that is only for about one billion people the rest is raw) the over fishing and oil spills are killing our seas and what that means they realise that what they have been told is not entirely true. Shame this was not the original message. Would have had a lot more support.

Sorry I harp on but I am an Engineer and as I have said before if you can define the problem accurately then you will see the answer. To get to the root cause is what engineering is all about. Just a pity some of the other science facilities don’t see it the same way.

I was born in Southern Rhodesia and grew up there. My childhood times were totally different to my own children’s upbringing and my grandchildren will again be different. I have learnt one thing and that is enjoy what you have today because tomorrow you may not have it

Posted by: Bruce Savage | July 18, 2009 7:52 AM    Report this comment

At last the voices of REASON are heard. Funny how it takes an view from the out side to really see the center. The question is, why must we, in this country, rely on voices and methods from without? Could the USA, for once, be the force for a positive campaign. The vastness of resources, natural and human, must once again coalesce to produce and not just import and consume. With might and will we have rescueded and rebuilt the free world only to see our world collapse from neglect, apathy, and greed. Maybe if this time we could save the whole world with the same vigor as we have put to war....

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 18, 2009 8:48 AM    Report this comment

There is no question that climate is changing faster and with greater consequence then ever before in history. The problem will be solved (if we survive long enough) as all problems are solved. Trial and error. Hypothesis, testing, failure, learning and repeating through to a successful conclusion. On to the next problem. First we start with the big items on the list. Surprisingly worldwide transportation rates only second to Livestock Production as a contributor to greenhouse gases. (See "Livestock's Long Shadow" by the United Nations Agricultural Division via Google). Reduce or eliminate your consumption of meats and you will take a bigger step toward solving the problem then you would if you parked your car. Unfortunately this still seems too radical for most as did ending slavery, or allowing women to vote in the past or overcoming homophobia in the current day. It's not as radical as it seems. I have done it and I believe it, by far, more than offsets my aviation sins. As we progress we will develop alternate forms of energy, the big one appearing to be wind (not ethanol, thanks anyway). If we survive we will solve this problem but not by denying it because it threatens something we value highly.

Posted by: Archie Wells | July 18, 2009 9:55 AM    Report this comment

Many a debate is clouded by smoke and mirrors - carefully set in place by vested interest groups. The problem lies in cutting through the fat to find the meat at the core of the problem.

When we hear of new findings we must ask who funded the research.

I believe we need to look for the patterns if we are to determine the real problems -and we must be proactive.

We routinely see the secular equivalent of learned theologians wastfully debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

As life and times become more complicated people look for simple solutions that tell them what THEY want to hear. Wisdom may have little to do with it.

Short term decisions can destroy a nation; perhaps destroy the world as we know it.

Reason walks in a minefield! It is seldom an easy walk.

Most problems once solved are simple -it is just that getting through the surrounding minefields can be very difficult.

To obtain a fine education is to obtain a set of tools. Then, the serious part is what we are willing/able to do with those tools. This the second part, is the most important part.

"Per ardua ad astra" -"Through difficulty to the stars"

I sure would like to see that 50 oound Cub!

Bon voyage my friends!

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 18, 2009 12:04 PM    Report this comment

Happy Trails, Charles

Posted by: Dave Miller | July 18, 2009 2:07 PM    Report this comment

>>we will develop alternate forms of energy, the big one appearing to be wind<<

Archie, wind will not play as big a roll as many would like. I work for an electric utility. We just finished a wind project in West Virginia. We have a couple of other projects in work in Indiana and Illinois. The problem with electricity is, it is not easily stored. It is generated to meet demand. On a hot sultry day when not a breath is stirring, everyone will have their ac's cranking but the wind turbines won't be contributing to the grid. Our company is engaged in these projects not so much to improve the bottom line but to comply with government mandates and to keep the green lobby happy. You might have read that T. Boone Pickens recently cancelled his plans to build that mega wind farm in West Texas. His reason was that the infrastructure(transmission lines)don't exist to get the electricity from remote areas onto the grid. T. Boone now has over 600 wind turbines($2 billion) he would like to sell you.

I recently asked one of our engineers how the new wind project was working out. He said we were killing a lot of bats :((

Posted by: Dennis Crenshaw | July 18, 2009 4:19 PM    Report this comment

Interesting about the pet enviro. projects that have been mentioned; and sure enough, someone finally got around to mentioning meat as one of them.

There's your answer to the 140 year old data question, by the way (which I'm only repeating as posted) - lotsa cows bein' raised and moved around back then too, and just chock full of gas, no doubt. The had to take over for the missing bison, after all.

Slavery, women's suffrage, homosexuality, and... meat? Apples and oranges.

The good old $100 soybean burger run, with a side order of celery sticks. No flatulence allowed on the way home. Unless you've bought the credits.

Posted by: Mike Holshouser | July 18, 2009 5:04 PM    Report this comment

I've got nothing to say.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 18, 2009 6:51 PM    Report this comment

Yup, kinda nuts mike! lw fries has nothing to say as usual. Dennis, nice to here someone in the industry speak about wind powering our economy. We all know where most of the wind emanates from! There is something dreadfull about the visual polution from wind farms. To me they destroy our human experience of beautiful sweeping western vistas. I am fine with wind as an adjunct certainly, but there seems to be this fantasy about any substantial reliance on it as a main energy source. I like the new thin sheet solar-electric which can be placed on many of our commercial/industrial type buildings. That could put a dent in grid requirements eventually (economics over service life need consideration). I am totally with a diversity of solutions..but to think it will replace known energy production methods is dream land. Fifty pound Cub comes out around the time the Star Trek transporter moves us all around like radio beams. I am plenty familiar with current and forseen materials..so much hogwash. Not to say we won't see some pretty neat personal airplanes in the future.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 18, 2009 7:07 PM    Report this comment

Dennis, Thanks for the feedback on wind power. How is it different to store the power generated from wind vs hydroelectric. Also, yes, I understand proximity to the grid is an issue. I understand in Ontario Canada the government is working to specify where farms will have to be located to provide wind power which they will purchase. I don't know a lot about the details myself. I pick this up from speaking to an old friend who thinks it is an opportunity and is trying to get in on it. Maybe a mistake for him. So from someone in the industry do you have a perspective on where the future might take us? Do you think it may be an amalgamation of different power sources? Do you feel solar making the necessary strides?

Posted by: Archie Wells | July 18, 2009 8:51 PM    Report this comment

Archie, someone in the industry, me, just happens to be a corporate pilot, so I don't think I can offer much perspective. The profession offers we pilots a unique position to observe the goings on within the company. We fly executives, engineers, and managers on a regular basis, so I pick up snippets here and there and have some interesting conversations with some of the engineers. Eric, I agree with you that the wind turbines are visually dreadful. The Mount Storm project in West Virginia consists of 130+ wind turbines along a ridge line.

Posted by: Dennis Crenshaw | July 18, 2009 9:34 PM    Report this comment

The wind turbines are pretty impressive, imo. I was near some this evening. Ever ride beside one of the blades being trailered on the highway? Almost makes you dizzy, just the scale of it.

Their effectiveness however, might be a different matter. I was hearing negatives years ago regarding cost effectiveness, but they keep going up nevertheless. T. Boone getting out while he could seems to say something though. Though I know little about him, he lost some credibility in my mind when I heard he was pushing the wind power thing. Like, maybe he's a businessman first and foremost, and what he's selling isn't the issue of paramount importance, as long as it's selling.

For now, they're pretty neat to look at, and for the kids to ooh an ah over if you don't see them every day.

Posted by: Mike Holshouser | July 18, 2009 11:21 PM    Report this comment

Mike, those are nice descriptions! They are kinda neat. I don't know if we want the entire west (or wherever), littered with them. I think T. Boone is of course a businessman, but I have watched him on CNBC a few times. He says "hell, I'm an old man, and I am worth billions...I don't need to do this for money. I don't need any more money. I do this because I love our country and we need to not be dependant on foreign oil." I tend to have bought him on these comments. Just to add to what you were saying. I don't know if his plan is the best, but he has put his "money where is mouth is". I give him some credit, I guess. For what it's worth?

Posted by: eric hanson | July 19, 2009 12:28 AM    Report this comment

I visited Sellafield Nuclear Power Station where I did a small test regarding power sources and was surprised to find my theories regarding nuclear power was really off course. The waste can be packaged and sent to our Sun. but it’s the other problems that need to be addressed and there are very few suitable places where a power station can be successfully built. They (the people at Sellafield) suggested that there has to be a variety of power sources i.e. wind, hydro electrical, wave generators and solar power. Each has their advantages and disadvantages.

Kariba a very large man made lake between Zambia and Zimbabwe feeding Barragem de Cahora Bassa (lake) in Mozambique (Southern Africa) were built (at enormous cost) with the idea that they would feed the electrical requirements for all of Africa for the next 100 years. Both projects failed miserably mainly because of politics (shame). There are not that many rivers that can be dammed to make hydro electrical power stations. As for wind and wave generators we as pilots know all about wind and how finicky it is (when you don’t want it its there in bucket full and when you do want it there’s not a breath of it). The sea waves have the same problem. Solar needs to have large areas to catch the sun’s energy and then its only for half the time (no good when its dark) (cont..)

Posted by: Bruce Savage | July 19, 2009 7:04 AM    Report this comment

(Cont…) When I was with Brown Boveri I visited lot of local municipalities (councils) talking to them about load shedding or standby power generators to supplement excessive usage of power during certain times of the day i.e. mornings and evenings when people are home having their breakfast or dinner.

There are no batteries capable of storing large amounts of electricity especially in the hundreds of Mega Watt range. Cahora Bassa would supply South Africa with about 600MW of power and every so often that supply would simply disappear when someone would blow up the power lines leaving large sections of the population without lights and hot water.

Lakes stores the energy by containing water so if there is a requirement for additional power then more water can be released into the turbines but this take a finite time to do so its not instant.

Traditional power stations were driven by coal or oil which today is frowned upon. There are still many around and they are cheaper and quicker to build than any of the other mediums.

Each medium has their limits of supply at this time in our history we are unable to produce more that what we put in. There is an abundance of energy on Earth but we (humans) have yet to find ways to efficiently extract that energy. The technology is already present to do better but politics gets in the way and people died when they expose these possibilities.

Posted by: Bruce Savage | July 19, 2009 7:05 AM    Report this comment

Cont.. I should not have said "exposed" but rather "published" Never mind I'm sure most of you understood what I was getting at :-)

Posted by: Bruce Savage | July 19, 2009 7:12 AM    Report this comment

So quit writing?

Posted by: eric hanson | July 19, 2009 8:19 AM    Report this comment

I thought I had finished with this one, but popped back for a look...and noted the comment by Archie Wells. I understand the Canadians now get 1% of their energy from wind. By 2025 some would like to see 20%+ from wind and the wind farms are expanding rapidly. There has been a big "fooferrah" about the noise etc. and the Ontario government has now ruled that the windmills must be certain distances from residences. The wind farms have been a proplem for some people who have private airstrips. The problem is outlined by the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association here: http://www.copanational.org/files/COPAGuidetoPrivateAerodromes.pdf. I understand that Canadian Geographic Magazine has, in their June 2009 issue a large article (and map) on wind power in that country. It should be available at: www.canadiangeographic.ca

The private aerodrome people are at a serious disadvantage...money talks...sometimes it bellows for a cause.

BTW, Canadians generally refer to electricity as "hydro" because so much of it is derived from water power. BTW-2, Canada is THE biggest supplier of energy to the United States.

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 19, 2009 9:21 AM    Report this comment

Thanks Charles, I guess there is no clear solution. Perhaps we will have to be at a point where our situation is more dire and the motivation is greater. Often when we are pushed to our limits we muster the resources and find a solution as in WWII and developing an atomic bomb or later, putting men on the moon. Maybe at some point there will be a turning point, a technological breakthrough like the wheel or the internet that wil change the whole way we look at things. I can only hope it happens before I retire and that I have a few shares in the right company at the time the will pay for a nice airplane (or two, or three....). Happy flying everyone and if you happen to know that "right company"....;)

Posted by: Archie Wells | July 19, 2009 11:34 AM    Report this comment

OK! Looks as every one is on the same page. The future is full of bright ideas and awaerness. We can tackle the problems both the biggest and smallest at the same time. From local fuel cells, to wired fwys for recovering energy from moving vehicles, DC/AC-A/C-D/C conversion, and many, many more! See, placing blame for GW is mute. I still look to nuclear but it is not at all the ONLY way. Bye the bye, what about 2012 anyway? Eric, what's up with that?

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 19, 2009 12:09 PM    Report this comment

"Necessity is the mother of Invention."

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 19, 2009 12:12 PM    Report this comment

Mr. Bertorelli, We are urged to ride-share and have made significant savings. Would a national emty seat air-share have a chance? The Pros do it, why not the rest of us. We might have more $burgers and make new friends as well save time and money. No? How about space on the server?

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 19, 2009 1:00 PM    Report this comment

It could be for other places too...other countries. A national ride-share and empty-seat deal in many countries. Could be state/shire/provincial etc. However, would not want to compete with the airlines? (Must remember they have a powerful lobby organization!!! The program would have to be carefully worded, very carefully worded. Must have conditions? Perhaps run by LW? (Sorry LW but it was suggested by you...you deserve the credit on this one)

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 19, 2009 2:18 PM    Report this comment

Mr. Elliot, I would have done so twelve years ago when I first thought about it. I don't have the resources that would be necessary. (Access to an airport directory, a website, a server, the money to do it, AND the talent.) These pages and others like them have ALL of that plus advertisers in place already. I did contact AOPA and EAA and neither returned my contact. Everybody, so far, except you and me is apathetic or must have a negative opinion. Maybe still too far ahead of the curve. It's not the first time. Too many Eric's I guess.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 19, 2009 3:00 PM    Report this comment

LW, I can accept all the excuses...I cannot accept the bit about TALENT. You've got it and you've proved it - by suggesting it. At the very least EAA and AOPA could have acknowledged your suggestion. Even if they thought the idea was nuts, they did owe you the "courtesy" of a reply. Don't be surprised if someone, somewhere just "grabs" the idea and runs with it.

As to the matter of new technologies, next week is OSHKOSH...might be some new ideas...I figure I will enjoy seeing what it is all about now...long trip to get there though.

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 19, 2009 3:27 PM    Report this comment

Thanx for the complement Mr. Elliot. As for my ideas I am more than willing to have anyone to embrace them. Except GE who insisted I GIVE them ALL rights to one which would have made them millions of $.

Man! I envy anybody whom has or will made OSHKOSH! Never had the time nor money. During the 80's I was able to work Reno into my vacation. It made my whole year! Hope you make it. And back of course!

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 19, 2009 3:57 PM    Report this comment

The UNIVAC computer of 1950 weighed some 29,000 pounds. Today an inexpensive laptop computer can out-perform it. Had anyone back then claimed that soon would exist such laptop computers, they would have been scoffed and jeered...dismissed as needing long-term care in a home for the puzzled. Will we have that 50 pound Cub? You can count on it! A surprising number of people living today might still be living when the first ones fly. As for the non-believers?...antique aircraft are beautiful things too!

I look forward to signs of innovation at Oshkosh 2009. On a more immediate and personal level, I hope for (going and returning) customs personnel with more brains than authority.

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 20, 2009 8:43 AM    Report this comment

The analogy is false Charles. Reasoable people might then have said why do you need something that weighs that much to compute. The criteria for aviation is different, the path has been different. Because computers have displayed such consistant gains, does not mean that aviation has such a similar technological growth path. I'll say the 50 pound Cub is ridiculous and not going to happen for a couple reasons. Paramount: assuming the possibility, there is no reasonable requirement for an aircraft one third the weight of one occupant (let alone two that a Cub can carry). The whole concept illustrates the unrealistic dreams of a few here.

If we want to improve matters, I would hope that some would be willing to be realistic. I have a good understanding of aircraft design. It is unhelpful for people to just put forth silly criteria like a "50 Lb. Cub". It should display the uncredibility of those so purporting. Anyone here responding with a knowledge of aircraft design would say that this 50 pound thing is objectively ridiculous. Dreamers may think that things are infinitely possible. Not to diminish the feeling..there are limits to design. The steam train wasn't developed infinitely...the recip prop fighters were not developed infinitely..! What happens is a side-step to very different logical new things. We have ultra-light aircraft. They serve a limited role. The fifty pounder will not happen. Reason: no need.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 21, 2009 3:58 AM    Report this comment

Interesting view Eric. Interesting "chice" of words too.

So,"no need" you say? By whose standards? For what period(s) of time?

You note that the steam train was not developed infinitely and the recip prop fighters were not developed infinitely. Could it be that people figured out a better way of "doing" those things?

Could it be that people will figure out more efficient ways of matching the Cub of today?

Eric my friend, could it be that your argument turns inwards upon itself?

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 21, 2009 6:49 AM    Report this comment

No. I don't think my argument turns inwards upon itself. It is implied in my statement that we found better ways of accomplshing objectives. Please come back with a real intellectual challenge (and I respect you, quite politely).

Posted by: eric hanson | July 21, 2009 7:54 AM    Report this comment

>>I'll say the 50 pound Cub is ridiculous and not going to happen for a couple reasons. Paramount: assuming the possibility, there is no reasonable requirement for an aircraft one third the weight of one occupant (let alone two that a Cub can carry).<<

Take Cub out of that sentence and insert airplane instead. Shift the paradigm a little. Or a lot. A 50-pound airplane? Just because you cannot imagine it does not mean it cannot be imagined.

My skydiving friends are experimenting with jet-powered hard-wing suits that weigh--well, around 50 pounds, I think. As far as a requirement beyond pure recreation, I suspect the military could be enticed.

--Paul

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | July 21, 2009 10:15 AM    Report this comment

I appreciate your statement Paul. One must define terms (that is implied solidly with...The Cub being invoked as the premise) You say take "Cub" out of it. Well, I think that was part of the supposition? What can a Cub do? The paramaters are Cub performance..take two people within the altitude and cruise airspeed envelope, and the same range. I don't think your parachute folks are close here. I think one might even fit a light set of golf clubs in the Cub and have a comfortable little flight. A lot of imagining going on here Paul. I am for it. I am just playing devil's advocate a bit, and the 50 pound plane is still silly. I have balsa wood models that weigh that, and no possibility of putting a man in it (let alone two and some belongings). Just preposterous! Come on! A "hard wing suit" isn't an airplane first of all (and obviously it isn't hauling two with minor cargo). We can shift paradigms 'till the cows come home. With all respect to ya, Paul

Posted by: eric hanson | July 21, 2009 10:39 AM    Report this comment

I suppose if I had placed quotation marks around the word, "Cub" people might have more readily accepted that I was using the word as a generic term.

I stand by my original image; I consider it eminently feasible and reasonable. It might take some time but it will come.

We should not limit ourselves by trying to evalute the future only in the light of present knowledge.

How many things do we see today that not long ago were considered impossible?

For now, we fly the "new" antiques of tomorrow!

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 21, 2009 11:02 AM    Report this comment

Mr. Hanson; You might have considered the political science implications of hot air and global warming. But, of course, you saved me from that fate and I am truly grateful.

Posted by: Larry Fries | July 21, 2009 11:06 AM    Report this comment

I don't care whether you put quotes around the term "Cub". The given proposition implies an airplane that does what a Cub does. That means all aspects of the wonderful Cub's performance envelope. The Cub gallops around at 100 or so statute miles an hour, and will haul two to a reasonably high altitude for a finite range. To think you're going to have an airplane that weighs as much as some "beer-bellies" and do what the Cub does, is laughable. Imagine all you want. But go ahead and make reasonable people seem like they don't have imagination. That is your criticism. You don't have virtue by simply proposing the ridiculous. I could say why not a 5 pound airplane that fits in the shirt pocket..and then say to those who say hogwash, that "just because YOU can't imagine it doesn't mean it won't happen". Please!

Posted by: eric hanson | July 21, 2009 11:15 AM    Report this comment

Once again Fries, I have made every point of disassociating politics as a prime impetus for any thoughts I have here. One need only read. I know some refuse to think that the issue isn't knit to some right or left wing view. Nonsense. Quit trying to put politics into a matter of science.

Posted by: eric hanson | July 21, 2009 11:22 AM    Report this comment

I for one, am not going to do more "circuits and bumps" at this time...for I believe the weather is becoming a wee bit "turbulent".

I will however, continue to look up to look ahead!

Posted by: Charles Elliot | July 21, 2009 12:05 PM    Report this comment

Remember, for every gallon of gasoline you burn, you're producing more than 10 pounds of water vapor, the dominant "greenhouse" gas. So only fly over arid countryside.

Let's review the bidding. According to the Energy Information Agency (http://www.eia.doe.gov/fuelrenewable.html) in 2007, the most recent data year, "renewables" provided slightly under 7% of total energy consumed in the U.S. That 7% was subdivided between: Hydroelectric (36%),Biomass (Wood,Waste-to-energy, Ethanol,etc. 53%), Geothermal (5%), Wind (5%), and Solar (1%). Methane recovered from landfills and manure is considered Biomass. If recovered from mines, swamps and swales, or from a deep hole in the ground it isn't. Don't let the Greenies make you feel guilty. Fly if you can, as long as you (safely) can.

Posted by: Albert Robbins | July 22, 2009 12:32 PM    Report this comment

I guess you're saying combustion process creates water vapor? Why wouldn't AGW advocates make more hay out of this then? Air will contain only so much water before it precipitates out as water. So, I don't think you accumulate more total water vapor in the atmosphere per se. The oceans are obviously the chief contributor of water vapor,at some point more clouds condense and you get more of the Sun's energy reflected back into space. I tend to think the Earth has proven that it is very resilient, particularly over the last few hundred million years. I am curious about the total water vapor, issue. I do think cloud formation becomes a helpful feedback. Ironically the cleaner modern exhaust has fewer particulates, which would have helped condense cloud droplets. Climatology still has enough question marks in the complicated system, to warrant restraint of dramatic action. We still only have a degree of warming over one hundred years of concentrated fossil fuel consumption. That still doesn't look like an "Earth Killer" to me...more like an inconvenience economically, if reasonable estimates of GW prove out (there's that word again).

Posted by: eric hanson | July 22, 2009 9:13 PM    Report this comment

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