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Posted on Feb 4, 2009
Smiling Chu
SF Chroncile / Lance Iversen

No laughing matter: Energy Secretary Steven Chu is warning that global warming could devastate California’s farms.

The key word being had: The new secretary of energy, Nobel Prize-winning Steven Chu, is making waves in the policy community with his daunting comments about climate change. Chu warns that the farms of California, the nation’s leading agricultural producer, could vanish by the end of this century if steps to slow global warming are not taken.

Los Angeles Times:

California’s farms and vineyards could vanish by the end of the century, and its major cities could be in jeopardy, if Americans do not act to slow the advance of global warming, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said Tuesday.

In his first interview since taking office last month, the Nobel-prize-winning physicist offered some of the starkest comments yet on how seriously President Obama’s cabinet views the threat of climate change, along with a detailed assessment of the administration’s plans to combat it.

Chu warned of water shortages plaguing the West and Upper Midwest and particularly dire consequences for California, his home state, the nation’s leading agricultural producer.

In a worst case, Chu said, up to 90% of the Sierra snowpack could disappear, all but eliminating a natural storage system for water vital to agriculture.

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By Expat Climatologist, February 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dr Chu is a brilliant physicist, but he’s not a climatologist.  When people speak as experts outside their field of expertise, they get things wrong.  As a climatologist (with a PhD), I find the statements he made about farming in California to be utterly ridiculous and completely unsubstantiated.  If we’re going to have a water crisis, it’s because humans use too much water and use rivers like toilets.  It’s too bad we can’t have a rational discussion in America.  We’re stuck between two (or more) fundamentalisms when it comes to most issues (including the environment).

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By cyrena, February 5, 2009 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

By G.Anderson, February 5 at 8:29 am #

In a recent interview in New Scientist James Lovelock said…

~~

Thanks G.Anderson, for posting some of this interview.

“..Do you think we will survive?

I’m an optimistic pessimist. I think it’s wrong to assume we’ll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less. It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It’s happening again. “”

~~~

Not much time…‘by the end of the Century’? Makes me wonder if that’s why Dick Cheney is planning another preemption with his latest threats.

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By DMFD, February 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

Nino,
Can you show or produce any study, not funded by any government, that shows global warming is a fact?  I love hiking in the mountains and last year I was in the Rockies talking to some naturalists about the receeding glaciers that created several beautiful areas.  These glaciers had receeded(melted)some 20 thousand years ago.  I find it hard to believe that man or SUV had anything to do with that.  They agreed. So, does that mean the earth goes through climate changes? Yes.  Will it continue to go through climate changes? Yes.  I just find it hard to believe we have control over the climate of this big ‘ol globe.  PS. It seems I am only burn, baby,burn when I am barbecuing. Peace

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By nino, February 5, 2009 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

DMFD,

Or Global Denying, on your part.

Offense not taken - it is just my, and a lot of other peoples, opinion based on the science. We know your opinion, “burn baby burn!”

Have a nice day.

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By DMFD, February 5, 2009 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

“We are now seeing much larger daily temperature range. Colder nights, hotter days. That is a tell tail sign of another problem - Global Dimming.”  Are you sure it is not Global Dumbing?  I was laughing so hard I thought I was gonna choke on all the carbon emissions.  Then I realized that there really are folks out there that are buying into the biggest and best layed out hoax of our time!  Please don’t buy into this crap because Al Gore says so. No offense meant nino just made me laugh.  Thank you

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By nino, February 5, 2009 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

Dear Blackspeare,

I’ve got a great idea. Since you believe, as Rush do, that climate change is NOT caused by man. NOT by the burning fossil fuels. And that it is perfectly safe… a “natural cycle” then park that SUV if yours in that five car garage of yours, close all the doors and windows and rever’r up. Its perfectly safe by your science.

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By Blackspeare, February 5, 2009 at 9:43 am Link to this comment

Today we have the acceptance of carbon dioxide as the culprit of global warming. It is concluded that when we burn fossil fuels we are leaving a dastardly carbon footprint which we must pay Al Gore or the environmentalists to offset. Our governments on all levels are considering taxing the use of fossil fuels. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of naming CO2 as a pollutant and strictly regulating its use to protect our climate. The new President and the US congress are on board. Many state governments are moving on the same course.

We are already suffering from this CO2 silliness in many ways. Our energy policy has been strictly hobbled by no drilling and no new refineries for decades. We pay for this shortage every time we buy gasoline.  On top of that the whole thing about corn based ethanol costs millions of tax dollars in subsidies. That also has driven up food prices. And, all of this is a long way from over.

I am totally convinced there is no scientific basis to this global warming fear.  It’s a natural cycle that has repeated itself throughout Earth’s history in varying degrees(no pun intended).

Man-caused global warming——it is a hoax. It is bad science. It is a highjacking of public policy. It is no joke. It is the greatest scam in history.

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By G.Anderson, February 5, 2009 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

In a recent interview in New Scientist James Lovelock said…

“There is one way we could save ourselves and that is through the massive burial of charcoal. It would mean farmers turning all their agricultural waste - which contains carbon that the plants have spent the summer sequestering - into non-biodegradable charcoal, and burying it in the soil. Then you can start shifting really hefty quantities of carbon out of the system and pull the CO2 down quite fast.

Would it make enough of a difference?

Yes. The biosphere pumps out 550 gigatonnes of carbon yearly; we put in only 30 gigatonnes. Ninety-nine per cent of the carbon that is fixed by plants is released back into the atmosphere within a year or so by consumers like bacteria, nematodes and worms. What we can do is cheat those consumers by getting farmers to burn their crop waste at very low oxygen levels to turn it into charcoal, which the farmer then ploughs into the field. A little CO2 is released but the bulk of it gets converted to carbon. You get a few per cent of biofuel as a by-product of the combustion process, which the farmer can sell. This scheme would need no subsidy: the farmer would make a profit. This is the one thing we can do that will make a difference, but I bet they won’t do it.

Do you think we will survive?

I’m an optimistic pessimist. I think it’s wrong to assume we’ll survive 2 °C of warming: there are already too many people on Earth. At 4 °C we could not survive with even one-tenth of our current population. The reason is we would not find enough food, unless we synthesised it. Because of this, the cull during this century is going to be huge, up to 90 per cent. The number of people remaining at the end of the century will probably be a billion or less. It has happened before: between the ice ages there were bottlenecks when there were only 2000 people left. It’s happening again. ”

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By nino, February 5, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

Conservative talk radio is still insinuating that “Global Warming” is a hoax. They preach it loud and clear complete with all the pundants they can round up. I was in the hardware store and several of the workers were laughing about Al Gore and his stupid Global Warming. It was 17 degrees at the time.

“Global Warming” really means climate change. The climate is changing at a greater rate than it would naturally do to man’s instance on growth at any cost. 

We are now seeing much larger daily temperature range. Colder nights, hotter days. That is a tell tail sign of another problem - Global Dimming.

See: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sun/

Particle pollution, not CO2 gases are reducing the amount of sunlight hitting the earth. This actually is masking the “Warming” part of Global Warming. As the industrial world slows in the reality of our economic awakening, we are polluting less - which is good. But now we will start to see greater shifts in daily temperature range.

I read a good idea on this site the other day. Listen to conservative talk radio and note their sponsors.  Then boycott them. You can even write them, over and over if you want, to say as long as they are funding conservative talk radio you are not going to buy their products.

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By cyrena, February 5, 2009 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

G.A. Anderson writes:

“Recently the LA times ran a story about how rising ocean levels have narrowed the beach in Malibu.

What are we waiting for, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica to be under water?”

~~~

Santa Barbara is sinking too. Probably lots of other places that we don’t notice if we’re not there, or haven’t seen it in a long time. I’ve definitely noticed it just with my naked eye, over say the past 6 or 7 years.

I don’t know that it’s necessarily too late though, if somebody could come up with a way to technologically direct those rising levels back into the environment, though I don’t know what I’m talking about (scientifically) when I suggest that. It just seems like there ought to be a way to technologically coax the elements back into balance.

At least 30 years ago, I remember them doing something like this on that old soap opera, “General Hospital”. I’ll never forget it. They came up with some episodes where somebody had gerry-rigged a weather machine, and in typical soap opera format, (rather than when you KNOW you’re watching science fiction) they were acting like it was the real deal..like this machine was making rain, snow and wind. At the time, I thought it was beyond ridiculous, even for a stupid soap opera, which I didn’t like anyway - any of them. (I was only a by-watcher because my sibling was engrossed in them).

But hey. I don’t see now, why the people who DO know how to do this stuff, can’t somehow figure out a COLLECTION of various ways to get us rebalanced/redistributed closer to the way we were intended to work before we screwed it all up.

We can capture wind and sun for energy, and we can use the energy from tide activity as well. We already know how to do that, and we’ve created projects like Lake Powell, only to see them suffer as well now, from FALLING water levels, where the water is needed, while the rising levels in other areas (like Santa Monica and West LA) threaten to sink those places.

I dunno, just seems like there should be a way to build an infrastructure that can make these ‘conditions’ reverse or balance themselves against the others. Build more combo irrigation and desalination structures and recycle/condition and redistribute the resources. I have lots of ideas, I just don’t know how to actually DO any of it. wink

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By espaz, February 4, 2009 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

hoax my ass!  it doesn’t take a genious to see that humans are overpopulating the earth and thereby having an adverse effect on it.  look at all the goddamn animals that are going extinct.  jesus christ!  why in your right mind would you think that CO2 production ISN’T warming up the planet.

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By Blackspeare, February 4, 2009 at 5:32 pm Link to this comment

I just have one word——HOAX!

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By G.Anderson, February 4, 2009 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

It’s probably worse than that.

James Lovelock, recently, made statements to the effect that it’s already too late.

Recently the LA times ran a story about how rising ocean levels have narrowed the beach in Malibu.

What are we waiting for, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica to be under water?

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