HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Environment & Energy » Environment & Energy (Group) » More of the 2016 disastro...

Sun May 29, 2016, 08:26 AM

More of the 2016 disastrous CO2 climate year, May 22, 2016 4.54 ppm worse than May 25, 2015.

Some remarks from previous posts on 2016, which is rapidly shaping up as an unparalleled disaster for the accelerating accumulation of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere:

As I've remarked many times in this space, the year 2015 was the worst year ever recorded at Mauna Loa's carbon dioxide observatory for increases in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, at 3.05 ppm.

Right now, if trends continue, 2016 will blow that level away.

Something very, very, very, very disturbing is happening if the Mauna Loa observatory's CO[sub]2[/sub] measurements are correct.

For clarity, I will repeat some text from one of my earlier posts, showing how I store and analyze this data available from the Mauna Loa observatory's website's data tab:

At the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory website, they have a data page which compares the averages for each week of the year with the same week of the previous year.

The data goes back to 1974, and comprises 2,090 data points.

I import this data into a spreadsheet I maintain each week, and calculate the weekly increases over the previous year. I rank the data for the increases from worst to best, the worst data point being 4.67 ppm over the previous year, which was recorded during the week ending September 6, 1998, when much of the rain forest of Southeast Asia was burning when fires set to clear the forests for palm oil plantations got out of control during unusually dry weather. Six of the worst data points ever recorded occurred in 1998 during this event, another was recorded in the January following that event.

Of the twenty worst data points ever recorded out of 2090 two of them have occurred in the last four weeks. The week ending January 31, 2016 produced a result of a 4.35 ppm of increase. The week just passed, that ending, 2/14/2016, produced a result of 3.79 ppm increase, tying it for the aforementioned week in January 1999, that ending on January 24, 1999, and that of January 2, 2011.

Of the twenty highest points recorded, 9 have occurred in the last 5 years, 10 in the last 10 years.

It's looking very bad these last few weeks at the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory.

The above comes from a post in this very, very, very depressing series on May 1 of this year: For April 2016, the average weekly increase in CO2 levels compared with April 2015 is 4.16 ppm

For the week ending May 25, 2016, the recorded increase over the same week of last year was 4.54 ppm. The data set now contains 2104 points; 4.54 ppm is tied, with February 3, 2013 for being the 3rd worst such data point ever recorded. Of the 30 worst data points recorded going back to 1975, 2016 has registered 10 of them. Thirteen of the worst 30 have been recorded in the last 5 years, 17 of the worst 30 have been recorded in the last 10 years.

2015 represented the worst yearly increase ever observed, the first to exceed 3.00 ppm in a single year, coming in at 3.05 ppm over 2014. The average value for weekly reading for increases over 2014 in 2015 was 2.25 ppm. The average value for weekly reading for increases over 2015 in 2016 is 3.51 ppm. The average of these values in the last 4 weeks is 3.81 ppm.

In 2011, as a result of the Fukushima earthquake, which killed 20,000 people, with, thus far, zero among them resulting from radiation exposure, Japan shut its nuclear reactors to see if they were "safe." This was, in effect, a decision to kill even more people, since fossil fuels replaced the nuclear plants. Fossil fuel plants kill continuously, whenever they operate; the global survey of disease study published a few years back in the medical journal Lancet reported that the death toll from air pollution is seven million people per year.

Nobody cares; although many people can prattle on endlessly, and in my mind mindlessly, about whether the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy, nuclear energy, is "safe."

The average values for weekly increases in carbon dioxide concentrations over the same week of the previous year since Fukushima is 2.30 ppm; the average for the 21st century, 2.07 ppm; the average for the 20th century, 1.54 ppm.

Our response to climate change internationally is to promote so called "renewable energy," which amounts to "more of the same," in my view. More than 2 trillion dollars was "invested" in so called "renewable energy" in the last ten years. The degradation of the atmosphere is accelerating, not decelerating.

Yet the faith in so called "renewable energy" which is neither effective, inexpensive, or - given its reliance on increasing rare and often toxic metals and other materials - sustainable, remains unabated. And let's be clear, this is a faith based approach to climate change. It hasn't worked; it isn't working; and it won't work.

Someone has to say this, however much it flies in the face of so called "conventional wisdom," which in fact, is not "wisdom" at all, any more than so called "renewable energy," is actually "renewable," given as stated above, its reliance on depleting materials. It has to be said because it's, um, true.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

6 replies, 993 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply More of the 2016 disastrous CO2 climate year, May 22, 2016 4.54 ppm worse than May 25, 2015. (Original post)
NNadir May 2016 OP
Boomer May 2016 #1
NNadir May 2016 #2
GliderGuider May 2016 #3
Boomer May 2016 #4
GliderGuider May 2016 #5
Boomer Jun 2016 #6

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun May 29, 2016, 10:59 AM

1. I'll grant you the safe part, just for argument's sake.

That still leaves nuclear reactors as: long-term construction projects that are enormously expensive to build and operate for relatively short life spans, using significant quantities of water.

The only upside is that when you do get the inevitable meltdowns, animals prosper in the human-free zone that follows. Chernobyl has become a fantastic wildlife refuge and we can always use more of those.
This is the DU member formerly known as Boomer.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Boomer (Reply #1)

Sun May 29, 2016, 09:47 PM

2. Seven million people die each year from air pollution...

Last edited Mon May 30, 2016, 06:24 AM - Edit history (1)

...which amounts to about 19,000 people per day, roughly 800 per hour, every hour, 365.25 days per year, ten years per decade.

This means 70 million people died from air pollution since 2006.

And you want to talk about Chernobyl? Really?

How come the people who want to talk about Chernobyl and Fukushima don't give a rat's ass about those 70 million deaths every ten years? Because they're ordinary? Because they're common? Because everyone has traditionally ignored them and so we refuse to pay attention.

All the meltdowns from all the nuclear plants ever operated on this planet, running in thousands of reactor years, have not killed as many people as will die in the next six hours from air pollution.

Nuclear plants were designed to operate for 40 years when the world built close to 450 of them in a 20 year period using technology that is now nearly half a century old. Many reactors operated well beyond their design lifetime. They represent, by far, the world's largest source of climate change gas free primary energy. They have routinely and clearly providing roughly 25 - 30 exajoules per year of energy.

Wind turbines, by contrast, are lucky to make twenty years before they become landfill.

Nuclear power plants remain the world's largest although people have been spouting rote myths that are obviously untrue by inspection for several decades in criticism of the nuclear energy industry.

In 20 years, using 1960's technology - while enduring tiresome criticism from a set of people who know nothing at all about science or engineering - a nuclear infrastructure was built that, again, produces 25-30 exajoules.

By contrast, in an atmosphere of endless and insipid cheering, the wind and solar industry have failed entirely to produce 5 of the 570 exajoules of energy humanity now consumes each year. It has soaked trillions of dollars to do this. And yet, the fastest growing sources of energy on this planet remain what they have been for several decades now: Coal and gas. Coal and gas plants need not fail to kill people. They kill people whenever they operate, 100% of the time.

And yet...and yet...people still burn more coal and gas to mutter the words "Chernobyl" on the internet like it means something.

The country that operated that most nuclear plants provided the cheapest electricity in the world for roughly half a century.

And what is the response?

Predictably, it is an announcement that what has already occurred is impossible.

Nuclear energy need not be perfect, it need not be without risk, it need not be free to be vastly superior to everything else. It only needs to be vastly superior to everything else, which it is.

No other new technology has ever been developed on this planet that went from 0 to 25 exajoules of primary energy production is a period of less than 30 years. Zero. None. Nuclear energy might have been providing 100 exajoules or more were it not for the rather absurd objections - all of them again, produced by people who know nothing at all about engineering or science - raised against it.

Climate scientist Jim Hansen has calculated that nuclear energy prevented the release of more than 60 billion tons of carbon dioxide, roughly two year's worth, and saved a little less than two million lives. It might have saved millions more, and prevented hundreds of billions of tons of carbon dioxide, were it not that people repeated these myths.

I note that air crashes in the last two years have killed more people than the Fukushima reactors, which killed, thus far, no one. I have yet to hear complaints that air travel is unsafe, or for calls to ban aviation. When poor design causes aircraft to fail, they engineer improvements. This is why we have engineering schools, and professional engineers.


It's absurd, absolutely absurd.

The OP here was about the accelerating collapse of the atmosphere of the entire planet..

We are racing to 4.00 ppm a year in increases, just twenty years after we were at roughly 2.00 ppm a year.

How on earth someone could even raise the point of Chernobyl in this context is nothing short of astounding, purely astounding.

I really can't believe the world I have come to live in, but thankfully enough, I, and the rest of my awful generation will leave the planet soon enough with all of our stupid ideas. Future generations will need to pay for the anti-nuke ignorance that has done so much damage. Before we go, my generation should stop to weep at what we have done.

Have a wonderful memorial day.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to NNadir (Reply #2)

Mon May 30, 2016, 06:15 AM

3. Even counting wartime use, nuclear power has been an insignificant risk to this point.


The largest quasi-official estimate of direct and indirect deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki is about 250,000.
The estimate for direct and indirect deaths due to nuclear and radiation accidents is on the order of 10,000. Note that for Fukushima this included 6 deaths at the plant, but 1600 deaths due to the (fossil fuel powered) evacuation.

Even counting the use of weapons, nuclear power in the last 70 years has caused only 4% of the deaths attributed to air pollution in a single year. From a rational perspective, that makes fuel burning about 2,000 times more dangerous than nuclear energy. Not counting the weapons, fuel use is ~50,000 times more deadly to humans than nuclear energy.

The death toll from air pollution is about the same as the annual death toll of WWII. You can reasonably think of air pollution as having a perpetual world war raging across the planet at all times.

Now, I'm well known for looking askance at ALL energy use by humans regardless of the source, since it all contributes to the human activity that has devastated our planetary home. But from a rational risk-analysis perspective, nuclear power is being unfairly demonized as being exceptionally dangerous, when it's not. It's a large, clean, extremely safe, centralized source of electricity. there are many other criticisms that can be thrown at nuclear power, but ironically, safety is not one of them.

The risk of nuclear power is magnified in our imaginations because every single death is reported. Imagine if we reported every death due to pollution or climate change? Joseph Stalin spoke the truth when he cynically observed that, "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is just a statistic."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to GliderGuider (Reply #3)

Tue May 31, 2016, 11:56 AM

4. I guess you read what you want to read

I thought it was fairly obvious that my comment about Chernobyl was tongue-in-cheek. I titled my post with agreement on the safety part of the equation, and I raised other concerns about the viability of nuclear energy.

This is the DU member formerly known as Boomer.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Boomer (Reply #4)

Tue May 31, 2016, 12:54 PM

5. I was just riffing off NNadir's post.


I'm opposed to all sources and forms of energy, so I get to be on the losing end of every energy discussion on the board.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to GliderGuider (Reply #5)

Wed Jun 1, 2016, 10:37 AM

6. Okay, THAT made me laugh. (eom)

This is the DU member formerly known as Boomer.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread