Untitled photo

4

<<     toc     >>


RISK

Your Own~Others~Everybodies

Short Term~Long Term

How Much?$~A Few $$~Many $$$/Serious Money$$$$/As Much as You Have

Death?~A Few?~Many?~Lost Count

In my various positions connected with engineering I have had responsibility for the quality of the product, whether it was in manufactuging, design or testing. The products rangeed from loudspeakers, electronic recivers, power systems for electric vehicles (NASA) or motor control systems for reactors for nuclear submarines (Knowles Atomic Power Lab, a part of General Electric and under contract to the United States Navy). All of these were while I was employed by Bose Corporation. The loudspeakers, receivers and the NASA system were my sole responsibility. For the nuclear reactors I was part of the support staff.

The most fundamental question to be asked was "what is the worse that can happen?" Obviously, this varied widly. For consumer goods it usually woud whether it could catch fire. For a moon buggy it would be to stop working. For a nuclear submarine, there was a long list of "worst case" situations.

The responsibility for all was that the worst case could not happen or its liklihood was as low as technicology and design could make it. In some cases the techiques were straightforward and well proven, in other cases they were more complex. Part of the job was to think of what conditions might cause failure. In our loudspeakers, high humidity could be a risk and when Bose was very small I ordered the local military testing facitiy to expose our speakers to 100% relative humidity for 48 hours.

I was not expecting problems, but upon taking the individual "drivers" apart we found serious corrusion which ultimately revealed a flaw in the manufacturing process and the return of 23,000 drives to the vendor.

In the case of global warming the worst case is not haveing a planet to live on.

Here arises one of the most difficult problems and that is to answer a series of questions: how likely; for what reason; cost of avoiding the problem; practical elements to finding and implementing a solution, etc. And then the impact on any individual or group of dealing with the above. But, the ultimate question always was "Is it possible?" If the answer was yes, then there is some work to be done.

If it is possible, what would it take to fix the problem and who would be affected.

This is where the human race has failed. For one hundred years ago the issue was comparatively easy to deal with, but it would have impacted the energy companies seriously in that they would have to plan for their own demise.

Thirty years ago we might have said that if we got our act together, put together a serious long-range plan and actually executed it, our risk was low. One part of the plan might have been for the oil companies to come up with alternatives that they would have as part of their business. Except coal and oil were cheap and easy and there were many people (including all the stockholders) that would have suffered financially. So we didn't do anything. CO2 output kept going up.

In an important sense this is heart of the human issue: can you take the hit or work out wiht the rest of society a solution. However, that is not what we do. The oil companies in subtle ways lied, misled, in any way they could to make others doublt the problem with their product. And then they looked for ways to find more oil, coal or natural gas and keep adding the carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

The world came up with the Paris Accords to reduce emissions but everything thing cost someone something and without enforcement the "accords" failed. This is the nature of humanity again.

The Bangkok climate talks on September 20, 2018 began to establish a "rulebook." The executive secretary, Patricia Spinsoza, reported mixed results. Almost simultaneously the fourth climate assessment report was issued. It was grim. We were continuing to fail. You can read the report below. Is there any hope at this point? Yes and no.

The climate of the United States is strongly connected to the changing global climate. The statements below highlight past, current, and projected climate changes for the United States and the globe.

Global annually averaged surface air temperature has increased by about 1.8°F (1.0°C) over the last 115 years (1901–2016). This period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization. The last few years have also seen record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe. These trends are expected to continue over climate timescales.

This assessment concludes, based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.

In addition to warming, many other aspects of global climate are changing, primarily in response to human activities. Thousands of studies conducted by researchers around the world have documented changes in surface, atmospheric, and oceanic temperatures; melting glaciers; diminishing snow cover; shrinking sea ice; rising sea levels; ocean acidification; and increasing atmospheric water vapor.

For example, global average sea level has risen by about 7–8 inches since 1900, with almost half (about 3 inches) of that rise occurring since 1993. Human-caused climate change has made a substantial contribution to this rise since 1900, contributing to a rate of rise that is greater than during any preceding century in at least 2,800 years. Global sea level rise has already affected the United States; the incidence of daily tidal flooding is accelerating in more than 25 Atlantic and Gulf Coast cities.

Global average sea levels are expected to continue to rise—by at least several inches in the next 15 years and by 1–4 feet by 2100. A rise of as much as 8 feet by 2100 cannot be ruled out. Sea level rise will be higher than the global average on the East and Gulf Coasts of the United States.

Changes in the characteristics of extreme events are particularly important for human safety, infrastructure, agriculture, water quality and quantity, and natural ecosystems. Heavy rainfall is increasing in intensity and frequency across the United States and globally and is expected to continue to increase. The largest observed changes in the United States have occurred in the Northeast.

Heatwaves have become more frequent in the United States since the 1960s, while extreme cold temperatures and cold waves are less frequent. Recent record-setting hot years are projected to become common in the near future for the United States, as annual average temperatures continue to rise. Annual average temperature over the contiguous United States has increased by 1.8°F (1.0°C) for the period 1901–2016; over the next few decades (2021–2050), annual average temperatures are expected to rise by about 2.5°F for the United States, relative to the recent past (average from 1976–2005), under all plausible future climate scenarios.

The incidence of large forest fires in the western United States and Alaska has increased since the early 1980s and is projected to further increase in those regions as the climate changes, with profound changes to regional ecosystems.

Annual trends toward earlier spring melt and reduced snowpack are already affecting water resources in the western United States and these trends are expected to continue. Under higher scenarios, and assuming no change to current water resources management, chronic, long-duration hydrological drought is increasingly possible before the end of this century.

The magnitude of climate change beyond the next few decades will depend primarily on the amount of greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) emitted globally. Without major reductions in emissions, the increase in annual average global temperature relative to preindustrial times could reach 9°F (5°C) or more by the end of this century. With significant reductions in emissions, the increase in annual average global temperature could be limited to 3.6°F (2°C) or less.

The global atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration has now passed 400 parts per million (ppm), a level that last occurred about 3 million years ago, when both global average temperature and sea level were significantly higher than today. Continued growth in CO2 emissions over this century and beyond would lead to an atmospheric concentration not experienced in tens to hundreds of millions of years. There is broad consensus that the further and the faster the Earth system is pushed towards warming, the greater the risk of unanticipated changes and impacts, some of which are potentially large and irreversible.

The observed increase in carbon emissions over the past 15–20 years has been consistent with higher emissions pathways. In 2014 and 2015, emission growth rates slowed as economic growth became less carbon-intensive. Even if this slowing trend continues, however, it is not yet at a rate that would limit global average temperature change to well below 3.6°F (2°C) above preindustrial levels.

In my view we are in extrene trouble.If one looks at world-wide weather over the last 10 years the behavior of the climate executives, the absence of real leadership, the behavoir of various countries where what they do does not match there words, the worst-case risk outcome is a definite possibility.

Nothing of substance has happened. The does not exist as "sense of mobilization" that in any way matches the risk. Unfortunately, because of the nebulous nature of climate change, the world does not "get it" and that especially the fact that once a city is under water it is going to stay that way. And within the next 20 years or so many will have intense regular flooding and by the end of the century all important coastal cities will be underwater.

Unfortunately the reports are still in science language, still focusing on whether or not human activity is causing the change, etc.

James Hansen has said "the shit has hit the fan." I would say we are "up shits creek without a paddle."

Unfortunately, this language doesn't do the job either because we have not found a way of talking about climate change that is appropriate.

I think we have to abandon the language issue and jump into a very specific set of actions with goals for everyone with the preface that large parts of the WILL become uninhabitable unless we do these actions and meet these goals. To do this someone, perhaps Mike Bloomberg, needs to stage a large, dramatic event preceeded by the creation by the very top scientists of a "global life report" that pulls no punches. It presents the scenerios based on current behavior and attitudes, and show that these amount to just what is going to happen because there is no way to change attitudes. A conculusion is drawn in something like a brief "decay and death" summary and pins the responsibility directly on the leaders, and introduces a "decay and death" committee that issues monthy reports country by country that includes details of how well each countries plans are being executed. The attitude is "do or die."

Such extremes are necessary because every minute makes the job worse and it is not out of control.

Perhaps we need to adopt Paul McCartneys new song as the theme song of this "final" thrust.

Living Inside a Ghost

Global warming is dangerous because it is insidious. You can be inside one of its storms and unless your understanding is deep you do not at a gut level connect the ferosity of the storm with the amount of CO2 in the air.

I think it is even hard for a scientist to grasp it, and then still harding to talk about the likely severity of the outcome. So nobody "gets it," they can't see or feel the ghost. But even more serious, is the leaders even if they know science don't know what to do."

They can only write another report like the last one. They still talk about what should be dead issues, that the warming is man-made. Just talking about it raises doubts.

When you come to a house from which flames are coming out the windows, but for some reason no one but you will turn their heads to look at the flames though they may see them out of the corner of their eyes.

And then when you tell them you must stpend trillians of dollars to vanquist this murdurous ghost that will end up cooking them, there arms are too short get around the situation, to the point that they "get it."

The people of the Earth need a sense of getting their arms around a problem the cannot get themselves to believe exists.

It advances slowly and that is part of the problem, Anther part is they don't walk enough around Walden Pond,

I have photogaphed often erueirhguigyyggtrtrttprt n

"

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In