Interview with Professor Kevin Anderson about the Paris Conference and what it will probably achieve, what is still possible, and the problems with the pledges and the assumptions underlying them
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Tags: "kevin anderson", biomass, capture, carbon, climate, models
Categories : climate change, design
Having now cut down 27 trees (with 8 to go…) we have a clear idea of where the house will fit on our new block. Sid and his tractor are on holidays until the 8th of January, so Glenda, Alex and I cut the two remaining tree crowns in the way of clearing the site in pieces, and we then moved all debris/firewood away (mostly uphill!) by hand. On a warmish Tasmanian Summer’s day to boot, something we all agreed would never have happened in Queensland.
At nearly 32m long, the double glazed frontage facing the dam is long. But as it will be our heater, we’ll need as much glass facing North as possible, and after all, there are no other windows whatsoever, something a lot of people don’t get, but will soon enough understand once it’s built.
The photo at right distorts the shape of the footprint quite considerably due to the wide-ish focal length used, but you get the idea. As the front of the house is exactly parallel to the edge of the picture, we must be looking due East, ironically straight at the block of land I was dead keen on some two years ago before this one came on the market! No regrets though, this block is way better.
Also clearly visible is the shadow of a willow tree obscuring the front, in Summer. No prizes for guessing it too is going. You can also see how nothing grew under the trees such was the depth of the shading before they were felled.
Alex and I did some sunpath studies to establish how many more trees need to go to ensure we have the solar gain needed to achieve the 10 star energy rating I’m so keen on. It’s doubly interesting for him, because he’s working on a camera project that involves creating 360 degree views of the sky, and then superimposing the solar path for that position to establish what shading problems occur for a more accurate positioning of solar collectors. We did it the old fashioned way…..
I downloaded this particular diagram (click on it for a better view) from the University of Oregon site. Just enter your latitude and longitude, and presto, you get a computer generated sunpath diagram for where you live! Isn’t technology great, when it’s used properly? Because Oregon’s in the Northern hemisphere, they generate the diagram upside down, at least that’s the way I read it.
Turn the drawing around so it faces North, and you can see where the sun rises and sets all year long.
Before leaving Queensland, I also bought a ‘digital angle level’ from Aldi. It’s a bit of a clever device I thought would come in handy when roofing the house and adjusting the tilt on solar panels, or, as we did here, use it as an inclinometer…… because you can also read (but not see) the altitude of the sun at different times of the day and year from the diagram. The level needs a battery, but it gives you a digital readout of the angle set between the level itself (with the leveling bubbles) and the rotating arm. The diagram told us that at 8:30am on May 21 the sun barely rises to 15 degrees above the horizon. You can’t see the horizon from our house site but, it is defined by holding the gadget level with the help of the bubble. Then, by looking up the slanted arm set to 15 degrees via the digital readout, and pointing in the direction set by the diagram, you can then see where the sun would be at that time and date. Clearly, the sun would be behind those pesky trees (at right in the second photo above), and they have to go.
None will be wasted, all turned into building material, firewood, or biochar. Over the coming years it’s my intention to replace them many times over anyway…… we’re not lacking space to plant trees!!
Next week, we’re meeting the structural engineer. I’ve ordered our Nickel iron batteries, the inverter and charger, cork floor tiles for the kitchen, and next week will be ordering the concrete blocks we need to build the retaining wall with. It’s all happening…. and boy am I feeling pressured after reading Raul Illargi’s article over at the Automatic Earth….
2016 is going to be a big year for us, possibly even bigger than 2015 was notwithstanding selling Mon Abri. Exciting times indeed…….
I’ve been asked what the house will look like, so here is Carlo’s perspective view of it…….
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Tags: angle, diagram, geeveston, inclinometer, latitude, passive, path, shading, solar, sun
Categories : design, Tasmania Project
Warm Arctic Storm To Hurl Hurricane Force Winds at UK and Iceland, Push Temps to 22 Degrees C Above Normal at North Pole28 12 2015
Reblogged from Robert Scribbler….
We’ve probably never seen weather like what’s being predicted for a vast region stretching from the North Atlantic to the North Pole and on into the broader Arctic this coming week. But it’s all in the forecast — an Icelandic low that’s stronger than most hurricanes featuring a wind field stretching over hundreds and hundreds of miles. One that taps warm tropical air and hurls it all the way to the North Pole and beyond during Winter time. And it all just reeks of a human-forced warming of the Earth’s climate…
Freak North Atlantic Storm Featuring Extremely Low Pressures
Today, a powerful, hurricane force low pressure system is in the process of rounding the southern tip of Greenland. This burly 960 mb beast roared out of an increasingly unstable Baffin Bay on Christmas. As it rounded Greenland and entered the North Atlantic, it pulled behind it a thousand-mile-wide gale force wind field even as it lashed the tip of Greenland with Hurricane force gusts. To its east, the storm now links with three other lows. Lows that are, even now, drawing south-to-north winds up from a region just west of Gibraltar, on past the UK, up beyond Iceland, over Svalbard, and into the Arctic Ocean itself.
(GFS forecasts predict a storm bombing out between 920 and 930 mb over Iceland by Wednesday. It’s a storm that could rival some of the strongest such systems ever recorded for the North Atlantic. But this storm’s influence is unique in its potential to shove an unprecedented amount of warm air into the Arctic. A warm storm for the Arctic Winter time. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)
Over the next few days these three lows are predicted to combine into a storm the likes of which the far North Atlantic rarely ever sees. This storm is expected to center over Iceland. But it will have far-reaching impacts ranging from the UK and on north to the pole itself. As the lows combine, GFS predicts them to bomb out into an unprecedentedly deep low featuring 920 to 930 mb (and possibly lower) minimum central pressures by this coming Wednesday. These pressures are comparable to the very extreme storm systems that raged through the North Atlantic during the Winter of 2013. Systems that featured minimum pressures in the range of 928 to 930 mb.
It’s worth noting that the lowest pressure ever recorded for the North Atlantic occurred in the much further southward forming Hurricane Wilma at 882 mb. In the far north, a January 11 1993 storm between Iceland and Scotland featured 913-915 mb pressures. It’s worth noting that the GFS model currently puts the predicted storm within striking distance of setting a new record for the far north.Meanwhile, ECMWF models predict a somewhat less extreme low in the range of 940 mb. By comparison, Hurricane Sandy bottomed out at around 940 mb as well.
Regardless of peak strength, the expected storm is predicted to be both very intense and wide-ranging as both model forecasts feature numerous lows linked in chain with a much deeper storm center near Iceland. Among these and further north, two more strong lows in the range of 965 to 975 mb will round out this daisy chain of what is now shaping up to be a truly extreme storm system. The Icelandic coast and near off-shore regions are expected to see heavy precipitation hurled over the island by 90 to 100 mile per hour or stronger winds raging out of 35-40 foot seas. Meanwhile, the UK will find itself in the grips of an extraordinarily strong southerly gale running over the backs of 30 foot swells.
Warm Winds to Force Above Freezing Temperatures For the North Pole
(By early Wednesday, temperatures at the North Pole are expected to exceed 1 degree Celsius readings. Such temperatures are in the range of more than 40 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) above average. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)
All along the eastern side of this storm, powerful warm winds are expected to funnel northward. Originating along the 35 degree North Latitude line west of Spain, these winds will force a train of warm air and moisture pole-ward ahead of our storm. The winds will rush up over a very riled North Sea, they will howl into a far warmer than normal Barents, and they will roar on past Svalbard — finally turning as they pass beyond the North Pole.
These winds will bring with them extraordinarily warm temperatures for the High Arctic region during Winter time. By Wednesday, the North Pole is expected to see temperatures in the range of 1-2 degrees Celsius or 41-42 degrees C above average (73-75 degrees Fahrenheit above the normal daily temperature of -40 F for a typical Winter day). Such an extreme departure would be like seeing a 120 degree (Fahrenheit) December day in my hometown of Gaithersburg, MD. Needless to say, a 1-2 C reading at the North Pole during late December is about as odd as witnessing Hell freezing over. But, in this case, the latest wave of warmth issuing from a human-driven shift toward climatological hell appears to be on schedule to arrive at the North Pole in just a few more days.
(The Arctic region as a whole is expected to experience a [frankly quite insane] temperature anomaly in the range of 4 degrees Celsius above average by January 3rd of 2016. Note the broad regions over Northern Canada, Siberia, and the Arctic Ocean that are predicted to experience temperatures in the range of 20 degrees Celsius above the already hotter than normal 1979 to 2000 baseline readings. For some areas — particularly in Northern Canada — this will mean near or even above freezing temperatures for tundra and permafrost zones in the depths of Winter. A set of conditions that has serious implications for permafrost thaw and related carbon store feedbacks. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)
New Freakish Weather Patterns Concordant With Human-Forced Climate Change
The deep, northward-driving synoptic pattern associated with both powerful high Latitude storms and warm winds is only something we’ve begun to see during recent years. The warming polar environment itself generates weaknesses in the Jet Stream which tends to allow these warm air invasions. In addition the warming oceans — which hold heat for longer than land masses — generate pathways for warm air invasions of the Arctic during Winter time. The Barents Sea, for example, has been particularly warm during recent years which has resulted in numerous warm wind invasion events issuing northward over Svalbard and regions eastward during recent years.
A final ingredient to this highly altered weather pattern appears to be a cooling of the sea surface in the North Atlantic just south of Greenland. This cooling has been set off by an increase in fresh water melt outflows from Greenland as glacial melt there has accelerated concordant with human-forced warming. The cool pool of glacial melt water south of Greenland has aided in the generation of a dipole featuring cool air to the west, warm air to the east. This year, warm air has tended to flow northward over Spain, the UK, and along a region between Iceland and Scandinavia. During the Winter of 2015-2016, this warm air slot has also been the breeding ground for very unstable weather and a number of powerful storm systems.
(It’s an El Nino year. But despite a climate feature that would typically strengthen the Jet Stream, what we see is another Arctic warm air invasion reminiscent of the recent polar vortex collapse events of Winters 2012 through 2014-2015. Note that the region of coldest air, which would typically tend to center over the North Pole has been driven south toward Greenland and Baffin Bay. A pattern that we’d expect concordant with world ocean warming and Greenland melt as a result of human-forced climate change. Image source: ECMWF.)
Unfortunately, this larger overall pattern marks a progression away from typical North Atlantic weather and toward a much more stormy environment. It’s an environment that is all too likely to be marked by features of warm air invasions moving up through the Barents and into the High Arctic during Winter. Of the Northern Hemisphere storm circulation tending to wrap around Greenland as the center of cold air shifts from the North Pole to the last bastion of dense glacial ice. And of a very unstable storm generating cold water and surface air temperature zone deepening and gaining an ever-stronger hold within the North Atlantic.
These are influences we see now. Ones that are impacting both the current powerful storm over Iceland and the unprecedented surge of warm air that is now preparing to invade the High Arctic. And though El Nino likely also played a part in the shifting of the storm generation zone toward Iceland, the far northward propagation of warm air into the Barents and High Arctic along with the extreme strength of the predicted storm are both likely new features of an overall altered pattern. What we witness here are both climates and weather features changing before our eyes in the form of what to us may seem a freak event — but what is actually part of a dangerous transition period away from the stable climates of the Holocene.
Hat Tip to DT Lange
Hat Tip to Colorado Bob (Remember — “Hot seeks Cold.”)
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Tags: "North Atlantic", above, anomaly, freezing, greenland, north pole, polar, robert, scribbler, storm, temperature, thaw, UK, vortex, winter
Categories : climate change, design
Comments : 11 Comments »
Tags: collapse, Nafeez Ahmed, nasa, Neil Dawe, News.Mic, population, climate, water, agriculture energy, Safa Motesharrei
Categories : collapse, design
Well, OK, I have to agree that it’s almost certainly too late now for anyone to ‘retire early’ in the accepted meanings of such words and in the current economic state of affairs. I literally retired aged 42 following the demise of my until then profitable photographic business. Instead of doing this by saving money, as this site suggests, I did it by investing every penny I made into good real estate, selling it, and downsizing.
Even at the height of the greedy eighties, we never led an extravagant life. While other photographers I knew were leasing Ferraris, I leased a Honda Integra. Instead of running a flash studio in elitist suburbs, I ran mine from home, and built the whole thing myself. I’ve also always been an energy miser, and have abhorred waste, and all that helps saving money in its own ways.
I was prompted to write this essay after reading an article on Vox about some young man who decided to quit his job aged 28…. even younger than me! That article led me to the early retirement calculator at the link above…
If you are spending 100% (or more) of your income, you will never be prepared to retire, unless someone else is doing the saving for you (wealthy parents, social security, pension fund, etc.). So your work career will be Infinite.
If you are spending 0% of your income (you live for free somehow), and can maintain this after retirement, you can retire right now. So your working career can be Zero.
In between, there are some very interesting considerations. As soon as you start saving and investing your money, it starts earning money all by itself. Then the earnings on those earnings start earning their own money. It can quickly become a runaway exponential snowball of income.
As soon as this income is enough to pay for your living expenses, while leaving enough of the gains invested each year to keep up with inflation, you are ready to retire.
If you drew this on a graph, it would not be a straight line, it would be nice curved exponential graph, like this:
A middle-class family with a 50k take-home pay who saves 10% of their income ($5k) is actually better than average these days. But unfortunately, “better than average” is still pretty bad, since they are on track for having to work for 51 years.
But simply cutting cable TV and a few lattes would instantly boost their savings to 15%, allowing them to retire 8 years earlier!! Are cable TV and Starbucks worth having two income earners each working an extra eight years for???
The most important thing to note is that cutting your spending rate is much more powerful than increasing your income. The reason is that every permanent drop in your spending has a double effect:
- it increases the amount of money you have left over to save each month
- and it permanently decreases the amount you’ll need every month for the rest of your life
So your lifetime passive income goes up due to having a larger investment nest egg, and it more easily meets your needs, because you’ve developed more skill at living efficiently and thus you need less.
Now that I can relate to! “Skill at living more efficiently” also stands for living more sustainably. Just the other day, I gave away my old rideon mower to my brother in law (who has zero idea on how to do anything…). He watched in utter amazement as I got the old girl going again after three years of no use. His handyman skills are non existent. He and my sister in law have totally squandered their retirement funding, because even after I told them how to build their house they totally ignored everything I said to them, and now they complain their house is freezing in Winter and stinking hot in Summer. The result will be expensive power bills they can’t afford… And the rideon mower? It will almost certainly not be used, as it looks old and he’s turned his nose up at it….
Their car was recently written off in an accident entirely not of their own doing, but instead of buying the cheap and economical Honda Jazz I suggested, they bought a six cylinder thirsty car they don’t need. I’m afraid that when the shit hits the fan, these two will really struggle, but I’m over helping people not prepared to help themselves.
The Mustachian continues with:
If you want to retire within 10 years, the formula is right there in front of you – simply live on 35% of your take-home pay**, which is approximately what I did without even realizing it during my own younger years. The only reason Mustachians will remain a rare breed, is because this article will never appear in USA Today. (Or if it does, people will be too busy complaining about how it can’t be done, rather than figuring out how to do it)
The reason such articles would never appear in USA Today is that of course, should everyone do this, the economy would instantly crash, and we can’t have that now, can we…….?
If you’re still earning an income, go for it, it can be done. Good luck!
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Tags: calculator, debt, early, money, retirement, saving
Categories : design, philosophy, self sufficiency
The full length interview with Ted Trainer from the upcoming documentary A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity
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Tags: "ted trainer", simpler way
Categories : design, self sufficiency
Mark Cochrane on COPOUT21
The climate pact in Paris has been agreed to and there are reasons to not only be relieved but impressed with the rhetoric that got into the final agreement. Specifically,
Emphasizing with serious concern the urgent need to address the significant gap between the aggregate effect of Parties’ mitigation pledges in terms of global annual emissions of greenhouse gases by 2020 and aggregate emission pathways consistent with holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C
This is positive because it acknowledges that 2C isn’t a panacea and 1.5C would be a lot safer though far from optimal too. I am surprised that this got into the agreement since Saudi Arabia was dead set against this potential accelerant to improving the current agreement and encouraging countries to exceed their current commitments.
That said, the devil is in the details and none of those details are encouraging. At present this is where we stand.
If countries do what they have pledged to do we will still vastly exceed 2C, never mind holding at 1.5C. This leads to the obvious question as to what is the likelihood that count￼ries will live up to their pledges? Although the climate pact was agreed to, the only thing binding in it is for countries to make voluntary commitments (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions – INDCs) that will be reviewed (and updated?) every five years. So each country is committed to choosing their own targets for emissions reduction (or reduction in growth of emissions) but there is nothing binding them to actually achieving those goals… In other words, this is a best of intentions agreement.
Furthermore, the signing of this Paris Agreement means next to nothing at this point as it is only the agreement to try to agree to actually do this. From Article 21
This Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.
This was roughly the same convention used for ratifying the Kyoto Protocol which was agreed to in 1997. However because of U.S. intransigence the actual ratification process was stymied until Russia ratified it in late 2004, allowing the Kyoto Protocol to go into force at long last in 2005.
So, there is now a toothless agreement with voluntary commitments that may eventually be ratified. Once it is ratified, a country can withdraw from the agreement three years after it goes into force if they send a written request to do so….
In short, this is far from a perfect document and it certainly does not ‘save the planet’. That said, getting 192 countries to agree to anything is almost impossible. My personal hope is that what this document does is put every country on the planet on record as agreeing that Global Climate Change is a serious problem for all of us. Doing so shifts negotiations from denial of the predicament we face to the bargaining phase of trying to deal with it with as little real sacrifice as possible. However, as the mindset shifts, more and more can be accomplished and perhaps we will finally allow human ingenuity to be applied to generating more positive outcomes. Right now the fear exists that we can’t possibly afford to do anything about reducing carbon emissions without collapsing the economy but this was the same nonsense peddled when the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer was put into place. In the end, the agreement was not economically catastrophic or even disruptive. Change does not have to destroy the economy it just shifts where the money goes within it.
Without this agreement the world was effectively dead in the water, with it, we are still in the water but not yet dead.
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Tags: 1.5C, 2.7C, 2100, 2C, cochrane, commitment, cop21, emissions, final agreement, reality, targets, warming
Categories : climate change, design