George Carlin on Saving the Planet


This is suddenly making the rounds among environmental journalists. Why?  Maybe because he challenges all our assumptions, puts human beings in our place, and is sorely missed. 
I predict you'll all flinch when you hear his take on endangered species.


  1. I agree with him, mostly. Somewhere in my early thirties I felt compelled to come to grips with the notion that environmentalism was a human invention, as meaningful to people as anything else. We don’t care for preservation or conservation for altruistic reasons, but for selfish reasons. Endangered species? Well those are more like the canary in the cave. We are concerned for ourselves, so we are concerned for the world around us. Its natural, but maybe superstitious (we still are). I have thought long about humanity reconnecting itself to nature (opposed to nature/culture divide). The things we invent (like plastics!) must be natural as well. Or that nature has worked through us just like Carlin says (I’ve never heard it from anyone else though!) We are creating things that nature could not make without us and we are entering a new world- and that is giving us a feeling of being out of control. But its still all nature, like a bird’s nest -but with so much more consequence.

    Environmentalism is in part, the rising up to protect ourselves from concrete and sometimes phantom threats. But as Carlin suggests, often conservation is just a way to keep a pleasure landscape pleasurable- or real estate with angel wings.

  2. Finally, people are dumping the environmental Kool-Aid and calling it what it is and what I have been calling it for years……..Socialist Elitism.

    It does matter to the enviro nazis if you turn down your thermostat (mine to 55* and the kids still wear shorts all winter), compost (my kids fight over compost for their gardens), use no chemicals in the garden (have not or five years), make your lawn smaller (1/2 acre to 5,000 sq ft),
    etc. etc. etc. I get this answer “But it’s just not the same”. BULLS$&T. My end just does not justify their means plain and simple.

    All they care about is your carrying the torch and waving the flag with them. They hate the fact that people conserve energy to save money because they know the money saved may not be donated to their cause.

    If you perform all the stunts they do but for a different reason it is smply not good enough.

    Thank you Shirley, Frank, for posting your thoughts.

    George Carlin is already missed. Look up his video on “Stuff”. Carlin was a genius in is social commentary.

    The (compost happens anyway) TROLL

  3. I miss George already, and I’m glad I got to see him live a couple times recently (“recently” being relative to his time on earth). Plus, just the other day there was a great tribute special on public tv.

    The ending of that clip is perfect…(Talking about “The big electron”): “It doesn’t punish, it doesn’t reward, it just IS…and so are we.”

    The strangest thing on the weekend he died was that my husband had just downloaded every single George Carlin clip he could find…he spent a whole day finding them and playing them loudly through the house on Sunday. Then I woke up with David standing over me saying “George Carlin is dead…” FREAKED ME OUT! And David thought maybe he downloaded the last bit of life old George’s heart had left.

    And one note to Greg–I sincerely doubt anyone takes issue with your saving money by doing practical, environmentally sound things. Actually, I’d be willing to bet that people would like to compliment you on your actions, but you too often sing your own praises and belittle others so that the admiration is quickly lost.

  4. I’m sorry, but one more thing. I went about looking at various blogs/threads about this…

    He’s a comedian, with a carefully scripted dialogue that intends to look like a rant. I see posts saying he’s conservative, no he’s not. Whatever. I think his main jab is really more philosophical: its that environmentalism is for us, not the world. Lets not pretend its otherwise. Environmentalism is a good thing in calling attention to crimes of mass pollution or destruction. Environmentalism is a response to us, its about us, its not about the greater world. He’s responding to self-righteousness and delivers his own counter punch, in a way saying, yes-you’re right, but sit down already and get off your throne. Our human world is more complicated than that.

  5. If we would “leave Nature alone.” But we don’t. We mess with it. Sewage, industrial waste, garbage, and god-knows-what from the Indian Point power plant still pour into the Hudson River.

    What about vanishing glaciers (reality) and the plight of polar bears (reality)?

    “Evolutionary cul de sac” and “lava in the living room” – LOL Thanks, George. Once met him; the same on and off-stage.

    Thermostat at 65 and fire going.

  6. George was on point, there is nothing more rediculous or egotistical than the belief that man is so powerful that we can affect nature in such dramatic ways. Nothing examplifies this more dramatically than the acceptance of human caused warming while the global climate is cooling.

  7. Any organism in a symbiotic or parasitic relationship with another knows that you can’t kill the host or irritate it to the point where it rejects you entirely. Yes there is a bit of hubris for man to think he can control and direct nature. Most of George Carlin’s examples however were geologic forces, not those more directly related to the life forces at work on this planet like air, water and biological life. It is equal hubris to think man has no effects on the web of nature at all or so minimal as not to matter.

  8. I agree with Chis CNC -and good point about the geologic forces. May we distinguish between the mineral and the biological when it comes to our world. Earthquakes, etc. destroy biological things only, if we consider the mineral world as inert. There’s no doubt that we are a force on this planet. So are viruses, algae, gypsy moth caterpillars, rabbits, and cows. Its a small world after all.

  9. The uptick in Carlin interest might be due to the Kennedy Center Mark Twain award bestowed on him posthumously last week.

    I can’t decide which I enjoy more — his takes on religion, stuff or the differences between baseball and football.

  10. gsdraiss, I appreciate your thanks; however, might I suggest, that the reason we are faced with unreasonable propositions such as global warming when science, history and reason are disregarded. Using these things to confront the validity of this theory is a far better approach than getting into a shouting match with people who’s only fault is they are being mislead.

    Give them some facts like:

    The amount of CO2 produced by each person every day by breathing and it is 288 liters. I took the 288 liters times the 5 billion people in the world times 365 days in a year and converted this from liters to metric tons and came up with 54.8 billion metric tons per year caused by the people of earth breathing.

    The total amount of CO2, according to the DOE and the UN IPCC, caused by fossil fuels each year worldwide is 6.3 billion metric tons per year. This means that breathing by people alone causes 8.7 times the carbon dioxide that all the fossil fuel burning in the world does. Then you could suggest the obvious, that if our liberal friends would just stop breathing it would have a far greater impact on CO2 production than any reduction in fossil fuel burning.

    See, be nice. You can’t catch bees with vinegar.

  11. Jon, that might make sense if the CO2 being exhaled in breathing wasn’t coming from the air we breath and as a waste product of the food we eat (respiration).
    Now the food we eat is turned into carbon by plants which pull CO2 out of the air to form carbohydrates. There is no net addition of carbon in that system’s loop, except what may come from the use of fossil fuels used to produce the food, cause ya see, that used to be buried in the ground and was locked out of the system until recently.

    “Science, history and reason can be disregarded” or they can just be twisted to suit someone’s agenda.

  12. Christopher, thank you for your comments.

    CO2 is 385 parts per million in the atmosphere. Man causes 3% of this by burning fossil fuels (source UN IPCC chart

    This is .00001 part of the atmosphere. To suggest that this minute part of greenhouse gases cannot be absorbed by plants is an amazing deduction with zero scientific evidence. One would have to assume that CO2 from fossil fuels have some magic powers.

    Being interested in horticulture you may know that commercial greenhouses use CO2 generators to to stimulate growth. The levels of these enclosures are about 2 1/2 times the levels in the air as an optimum for growth. I know that these assumptions are not yours. They are commonly thrown out with no scientific basis.

    Also, if you look into history and ice core evaluations particularly you will learn that historically CO2 levels have risen after periods of warming. This would make sense as we are warming up after the Litlle Ice Age which ended at the end of the nineteenth century. I expect now that levels will decrease as the earth cools as it is now doing.

    There is no formula, calculation or test that suggests the levels of CO2 from man’s activity can raise the temperature by any measureable amount.

    I encourage you to not believe me and investigate it further yourself.

    Science, history, reason and common sense show no causal relationship between warming and fossil fuel burning. The only “proof” are seven computer programs devised by the UN. They all predicted record highs for several years and continued warming for 100. We have had two years of colling by historic rates and the UN now says this is just “weather”.

    If you cling to the tenants of global warming you are being decieved.

  13. Correction- I stated the Little Ice Age ended at the end of the nineteenth. It lasted until the end of the eighteenth century, shortly after our revolution.

    The scientific reason for this era most likely was the lowering of solar activity which is most likely the reason it is colling now after we have gone from a period of high activity and global warming and now are in a cooling period of low activity. This has 450,000 years of evidence behind it. It has worked for 450,000 years. The record of the UN computer programs are that they have not successfully predicted anything with accuracy in their 20+ years of existence. In the last two years they have predicted exactly the opposite of what has happened.

  14. Some factoids for you Jon. NOAA says this winter was slighty warmer than average. That is not a colling (sic) trend. California had its sixth warmest January on record.

    Audobon has just released a study documenting bird’s winter ranges moving north.

    Yes I do believe you are trying to deceive me and others by flinging numbers around like you have a clue what you are talking about.

  15. NOAA stated that the temperatures were warmer than “average”. This is the new paradigm, temperatures are not given from year to year, only in averages against a specific group of years.

    Here are actual year to year drops as recorded by the four most respected organizations in the world. These are their averages for the world.

    Remote Sensing Systems of Santa Rosa, CA (RSS)

    Source: Global ∆T °C
    HadCRUT – 0.595
    GISS – 0.750
    UAH – 0.588
    RSS – 0.629
    Average: – 0.6405°C

    Yor referenced Audobon study was-

    “The study of migration habits from 1966 through 2005”

    How is this related to my statement concerning the last two years which would be 2007 and 2008?

    Let me explain to you that the carbon dioxide being exhaled is not coming from the air. If you had stayed awake during junior high school biology you would know that oxygen is exchanged in your lungs for the exhaled CO2. The oxygen combines with carbon in your body and is echanged and expelled in your lungs as carbon dioxide. This is called breathing.

    I was not avoiding the subject, only trying to save you some embarassment.

    You should stop now Christopher, you are demeaning yourself by making rude remarks which is always the refuge of someone who cannot argue a point intelligently and yet feels they have to say something, so they become abusive.

    It is not a likeable trait. I have been polite in my response and did not personally attack you or make any sort of accusation about your motives or integrity. You should realize by now that I know what I am talking about and you do not and that trying to make me look foolish is not a good thing to attempt.

  16. PS- before you accuse me of changing the subject, who cares if California had the sixth warmest January on record?

    I haven’t seen bare ground here in SE Massachusetts since the middle of December. So what.

  17. Jon apparently your reading comprehension is a little low to, so I’ll just ask specifically. Does human breathing cause a net gain of CO2 in the atmosphere? If not why would you use that in an argument about climate change?

    Source: Global ∆T °C
    HadCRUT – 0.595
    GISS – 0.750
    UAH – 0.588
    RSS – 0.629
    Average: – 0.6405°C

    More numbers that mean nothing. Where is a link to the source?

    “who cares if California had the sixth warmest January on record?” Wow! I guess you don’t.

    When I need a lecture on my internet demeanor I will let you know.

    You may now have the last word.

  18. Christopher, you are making yourself look foolish. There is exactly no difference between the creation of carbon dioxide by breathing and carbon dioxide by burning fossilfuel. It is oxidation. We eat food and use energy. The energy is caused by the oxidation of the carbohydrates we eat and the oxygen we breath. When fuel is burned (oxidized) it gives off heat. When food is “burned” it heats us. It is the same gas. Burning fossil fuels produces 3% of all carbon dioxide (refer to the link I gave you). This is .00001 part of the air. 95% of all “greenhouse” gas is water vapor or clouds. This .00001 part of carbon dioxide slows down a very specific long wave bandwidth of reflected solar radiation in a very narrow range. It cannot warm the atmosphere in any measureable amount. You seem to be laboring under the misconception that there is something special about CO2 from burning fuels. There is not. It doesn’t last any longer than natural CO2. It does not accumulate over years. It is broken down by plants with photosynthesis just as all CO2 is. It cannot “force” temperatures. It has no magic. It is simply the life giving gas that we depend upon for our very existence as every living thing on earth does.

    Why on earth do you presuppose that the small fraction of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is the only source capable of a net gain? Since 97% of it is generated naturally I would say that the increase is natural. You have no reason to think otherwise. There are hundreds of thousands of years of ice cores that say carbon dioxide rises after warming. We are now seeing carbon dioxide rise after a warming period.

    The sources to the temperature readings are;

    UK’s Hadley Climate Research Unit Temperature anomaly (HadCRUT) Dr. Phil Jones
    The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies(GISS) Dr. James Hansen
    University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) Dr. John Christy
    Remote Sensing Systems of Santa Rosa, CA (RSS)

    I don’t give a rats behind if California had a warm January and it has zero to do with global climate. They have also had record snowfalls, which I guess might be deadly, so I do care about that.

    You are clearly demonstrating a need for an attitude readjustment, seems it is just another part of your education that is lacking.

  19. And the question was, “Does human breathing cause a net gain of CO2 in the atmosphere?”

    Jon, thanks so much for the link to Watts Up With That? Did you actually read the post and look at the graphs and follow any of the links suggested in the post. No you must have taken your synopsis of what all that data meant from the Drudge Report.

    The fools rush in.

  20. “Does CO2 caused by breathing a net gain in the atmosphere?”

    Answer- I don’t know how much simpler I can make it for you. CO2 is produced by breathing. It is identical to all other CO2 including that caused by fossil fuel burning. It is broken down exactly the same way by plants. The amount of CO2 produced by breathing is many times that of CO2 produced by fossil fuels. It shows the absolute lunacy of thinking that fossil fuel burning could be a cause of warming. It also clearly demonstrates how small an impact it has. I know this is over your head, but the difference of having 385 or 374 PPM could be achieved if we burned no fossil fuel at all, no cars, no planes, no buses, no oil or gas heat, no factories, no trains, no ships, no coal or natural gas power plants…nada. If we did all that we would have, at best 11 PPM less CO2. .00001 part less. We could not even live like cavemen because even they used fire. It is the most absolutely absurd idea in the world. It is an invented problem that cannot pssibly exist which could not possibly have a solution if it was true.

    Let me put it in a way that you can understand. Asking if man made CO2 is a net adder to the CO2 in the atmosphere is like asking if someone pees into Lake Superior are they a net contributor to the water level.

    I did look at the links to these sites and the data. You obviously did not or you would realize they are verified by these sources, lacking the ability to understand you attempt to discredit what is very valid factual data.

    Look, you have no concept of what you are talking about and try to cover your ignorance with childish remarks. In the words of Shakepeare, it is far better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

    You not once but twice have tried to tell me that because it was cooler in California you think that somehow proves the global climate is cooling. You post a study done by the Audobon Society from 2005 to try and disprove the fact that it has cooled in 2007 and 2008. You somehow cannot grasp the biology of breathing and the production of CO2 caused by it, you somehow think that we simply breath CO2 in and out. You have arrogantly claimed without any proof that the information given to you is false. In short you have demonstrated complete ignorance of the subject and a distasteful disposition.

  21. Dude do you even read and comprehend what you yourself write before you click Post? I know you still have not grasped the concept of net gain. Do yourself a favor and heed Shakespeare’s advice.

  22. ..and please pay attention, I inadvertently said “it was cooler in California you think that somehow proves the global climate is cooling” when I obviously should have said warmer and warming.

    I apologize for this typo to anyone who may have suffered through this.

  23. Sorry to all you folks out there in the land of “I have No Responsibility in this Whole Mess Land”, but mankind is either powerful enough to change the climate and foul our entire nest of a planet, or not powerful enough to be able to undo the selfish mess we have created. By now, it seems apparent that the ones who applaud George’s rant are the ones who really couldn’t care less about doing anything to help our species. They just want to be left alone to use and abuse and PULEESE don’t suggest to them that they might actually be expected to clean up their own rooms! A bunch of spoiled Americans we have become! Yes, of course the Earth will survive, but right now, I am selfish enough to want to have the whales and eagles and all those other annoying creatures around for my lifetime and my children’s children. But, I suppose those “others” would just as soon see them all perish for the sake of our greed. Let’s kill them all! Who cares, as long as WE are not inconvenienced one little bit.

  24. It’s frustrating when people can’t separate the musings of a bitter old comedian from reality…and that’s aimed at different parties here. Just because someone finds truth or amusement in Carlin’s act doesn’t require they take on an attitude of arrogance or apathy about the fate of the human race. An interesting aspect of human intelligence is we can hold conflicting ideas in our heads and appreciate them for whatever merit they might have. You can speculate that humans are ultimately doomed because of our careless nature and that in the grander sense, we don’t matter, and at the same time feel a desire to counter the doom, or play a part in a potential solution. There’s that curious grey area where choices are made.

  25. Joanne and Brie,

    These are unfair accusations. I recycle everything I can. My home is full of energy saving applainces and equipment, my car has a green certified engine, I compost and never pollute anything.

    You are suggesting that because I don’t accept soemone’s failed theory blaming carbon dioxide for warming that I am irresponsible and a party to polluting the earth.

    there is only one way to make a real impact on cleaning the air of real pollutants. There is only one method to dramaitically reduce the one trillion tons of coal burned for energyeach year and that is nuclear. Unfortunately those that claim to be for clean air are usual the first to raise the phoney excuse that they feel ther is no way to properly store the waste. By doing this they force the continued storage of spent nuclear fuel at 103 nuclear plants accross the country and tons and tons of military nuclear waste at hundreds of lcations.

    They make burning one trillion tons of coal necessary. Also, plaese realize that the proposed “solutions” of wind and solar produce power 25% and 40% of the time at several times the cost. They require 100% back-up from fossil fuels because of their unreliability. They cannot shut down one fossil fuel plant, they cannot supply to our needs and for 75% of the time they require most likely coal to operate.

    Before you accuse someone of not being in favor of clean air, land and water you should educate yourself to the facts. I find your incorrect assumptions ignorant and insulting. I also realize that you are responsible for not applying the solutions that really work. You are responsible for one trillion tons of coal being burned each year and the asthama, bronchistis, black lung, cancer etc. that are a result.

    How does that feel?

  26. Whoah Nelly…my comment was directed mostly at Joanne and anyone else who decided Carlin’s rant was either gospel or the devil, and in summary it meant “CALM DOWN PEOPLE!” I was following the episode between you and Chris, and saw Joanne’s comment, which prompted mine. You really misinterpreted what I was trying to say, or maybe I just failed to say it coherently enough.

    I’m not accusing you or anyone else of apathy or inaction over the environment–I’m actually saying that the finger-pointing is a little undeserved simply because folks think George Carlin has some good points in his act. I was actually DEFENDING you, in many ways. I sure won’t do that again!

    One can believe the human race may not be ultimately that important, and still wish to lead a life of low impact and sustainability for the sake of the human race. Whether they’re doing that or not is irrelevant to my original point…

    As for the bit below:

    “Before you accuse someone of not being in favor of clean air, land and water you should educate yourself to the facts. I find your incorrect assumptions ignorant and insulting. I also realize that you are responsible for not applying the solutions that really work. You are responsible for one trillion tons of coal being burned each year and the asthama, bronchistis, black lung, cancer etc. that are a result.
    How does that feel?”

    Never in my previous comment did I call you or anyone else here environmentally careless, so directing this lashing at me is inappropriate. But while we’re on it, I believe that indirectly we are ALL murderers no matter what we do. It’s just a matter of how big a murderer you are, and what you do to lessen your impact. Good for you for all you’re doing. While I do wonder how exactly you never pollute anything, I applaud your efforts and anyone else’s.

  27. Going back and reading my comment I can see where you may have thought I was being accusatory…while I was actually being pretty defensive of those of us who got a kick out of George’s rant.

    One of those cases where sentences can be read two ways depending upon the reader’s disposition. Woops!

  28. OK. Simple point here—we did it, we can un-do it. The response I heard from the audience listening to George’s “humorous”(?) rant against the environmentalists seemed to come from those who would rather believe that not only CAN’T we do anything to change the direction of the earth’s ecology, but that it is useless to even TRY. It’s as though he gave them more permission to go ahead and crap all over the place and then turn around and call it “natural”. Sorry. I think we should at least act as though we were the intelligent species we seem to think we are and clean up out our own mess. I’m not arguing over what method to use (i.e., nuclear, wind, geo-thermal, etc.). I am saying that we need to at least accept responsibility and get to work.

  29. Brie, without the preceding discussions I would not have assumed your remarks were made at me. In the context i took it personal. I accept your explanaition that it was not and based on that I admit lumping you in where you did not belong. I apologize for that.

    JoAnne if you go to the EPA website you will see dramatic improvements in air and water quality and based on years of strict enforcement of environmental laws. Please reread my comments and realize the largest mess we generate today is the one trillion tons of coal we breath. There are real consequences to putting this much real pollution into the air. My point to you is that wind cannot stop much of this pollution because of the limitations I mentioned. One nuclear power plant today produces .19% of our electricity with zero emmissions. No new plant has been built in 30 years. This .19% per plant is twice the power of all the wind and solar in the US and we are the world’s largest user of wind and solar. 15,000,000 metric tons (16,500,000 tons) of coal are burned each year to supply power when this solar and wind are not supplying power. One nuclear plant produces almost twice the power at 90% efficiency with zero use of coal.

    Other sources such as water power or geothermal are great, but suitable locations are limited.

    Think about this. You are given a choice of building 100 more nuclear plants. This could displace 40% of the coal being burned or 400 billion metric tons of coal. If you spent 1 1/2 times the cost of the nuclear power in wind power, you have 25% of the power available at any time. This power would cost several times any other power. So, you may save the equivalent of 100 billion tons of coal. Now you must supply power for the 75% of the time wind is not generating power. this is the equivalent of 300 billion metric tons of coal. Net coal burned over saved coal + 200 billion tons of coal versus 400 billion saved with nuclear. Wind would cause 600 billion tons of coal more to be burned against nuclear.

    Worse you will be cahrged carbon taxes on the coal burned so to the huge extra cost of wind power you will also be charged for the coal to back it up and the taxes after being filtered through the sticky fingers of the government will be spent to build more wind power. i would like to know how anyone thinks this is a good idea.

    Wind and solar are unaffordable, cannot clean the air and cannot supply for our needs. the final insult is when we are told that wind and solar will stop us from being dependent on foreign oil. 0.6% of all our electricity is generated by oil. If we switched all our power generation to “other” sources we could save, theoretically, 0.6 % of the oil we use.

    So, once again since you want to clean the air, there is only one choice. Telling me you don’t car what is used, with all due respect, shows me you do not (or now, did not) know these facts.

    So, if you really want to clean the “mess” and act responsibly and intelligently you now know the best way to do this.

    So, congratulations, you can now make a difference. I have shown you how to make the greatest impact possible to clean the planet and if you and others spread the word we can clean the air and save some money as well.

  30. I’m not disagreeing with the idea of using nuclear as a way to stop using coal, however:

    “This .19% per plant is twice the power of all the wind and solar in the US and we are the world’s largest user of wind and solar.”

    This is not true. American wind farms will generate an estimated 48 terawatt-hours (TWh) of wind energy in 2008, just over 1% of U.S. electricity supply and wind generation is growing rapidly.

    That 1% is wind alone and does not include solar as a percent of total US supply. In a 2008 study by the Dept of Energy under the Bush, wind energy was seen as being able to potentially reach 20% of US supply.

    “If you spent 1 1/2 times the cost of the nuclear power in wind power, you have 25% of the power available at any time. This power would cost several times any other power. So, you may save the equivalent of 100 billion tons of coal. Now you must supply power for the 75% of the time wind is not generating power. this is the equivalent of 300 billion metric tons of coal. Net coal burned over saved coal + 200 billion tons of coal versus 400 billion saved with nuclear. Wind would cause 600 billion tons of coal more to be burned against nuclear.”

    This makes no sense and I tried several times to follow your math. It also doesn’t even look at potential unfacts about the construction and operating costs of nuclear versus wind and the 25% reliability you attribute to wind. Any electricity generated from wind reduces the need for coal. Saying wind would cause the burning of coal is a false comparison to nuclear. In other words it is misleading. Is that deliberate?

    The general feeling one gets from the avalanche of facts in your comments Jon is that they are inaccurate or deliberately misleading. Is does not help you convince anyone of anything. Your rapid descent into name calling after such sincere expressions like: “better approach than getting into a shouting match with people who’s only fault is they are being mislead” and “See, be nice. You can’t catch bees with vinegar.” doesn’t help your case either.

    You have still neglected to address the issue of whether or not human breathing causes a net gain (accumulation of, addition to, more of over time, increase in) the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Why is that? Was it a deliberately misleading argument or have you been mislead? Don’t give me another lesson in respiration. If you had comprehended my original comment on the subject, you would have known that was not an appropriate response.

  31. Generator Nameplate Capacity (Megawatts)

    Wind 16,596

    Total 1,087,791

    For 2007. This is 1.5% and this is nameplate capacity so 25% of this is almost .38 %. I stand corrected.

    Now say we generated 20% nameplate capacity of our power from wind. In rreality this would give us 5% of our power. That would be the exact scenario I outlined in my previous post.

    Here is an example of what happens when large percentages of wind are installed.

    Windmills aren’t the answer
    Colby Cosh, National Post Published: Tuesday, November 21, 2006

    EDMONTON – It’s official: The glorious future of abundant free energy has been put on hold. In May, the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) announced that the province’s grid could not safely accommodate more than 900 megawatts of wind-power generation, a target that will be met late next year. Proposals for 3,000 more MW of production have been thrown into indefinite limbo at an estimated cost to producers of $6-billion; meanwhile, the province is already spending $1-billion to strengthen the transmission system so that even the 900-MW cap can be reached. In Ontario, meanwhile, the grid operator warned late last month that 5,000 MW — about one-fifth of the province’s current peak consumption — is probably the absolute technological limit. (A total of 1,280 MW of wind capacity is already in operation or being built.)
    It is starting to look as though wind cannot meet more than a fraction of our energy demand even if other issues with the technology, like esthetics and wildlife impacts, are ignored.
    The depressing corollary is that even in reaching the modest limits now being laid down by the grid police, Alberta and Ontario are relying implicitly on the relative sluggishness of their neighbors in adopting wind technology, using interconnections with other provinces and states to off-load excess power and cover shortfalls. So the system operators’ warnings aren’t just a sign that wind has reached a dead end in their home provinces. They also mean that B.C., Saskatchewan and parts of the U.S. Northeast will never be able to get major wind projects off the ground if they are to continue to serve as an energy release-valve for their wind-harnessing neighbors
    The windustry has met the announcements with its usual optimism, pointing out that existing wind installations could be made to co-operate better with the grid if improved region-specific wind forecasting existed. But even assuming such a thing can be wished into existence, predictability is not the same thing as stability. During low-wind, high-demand periods, a drop in output still must be made good by other power sources. Since a nuclear pile can’t be switched on and off like a light bulb, Ontario’s hydroelectric output is already taxed to the limit and Alberta doesn’t have much hydro, guess what technology steps in to fill the void? That’s right — good old Stone Age hydrocarbon burning.
    But at least it’s still economically free energy, right? Well, maybe. As an internationally observed rule of thumb, wind farms are expected to deliver, on average, 30% of their theoretical maximum power output. On the basis of partial data, Energy Probe expects the three major farms in its study to come in at 24%-27% over a full 12 months. And that’s not even including the showpiece Windshare turbine at Toronto’s CNE, which delivered a mean capacity factor of just 14.7% in its first 42 months of operation.
    The expectations of wind advocates have already had to be minimized as they realize there is nothing inherently virtuous about their pet piece of tech. Alas, like recycling fanatics, they are likely to end up praising wind power as a moral enterprise that “instills good habits” and signals “green consciousness,” even if the honest cost-benefit analysis goes against them in the long run.

    This is repeated time and time again.

    Sorry you cannot follow the math. I looked at the total amount of energy used to produce the same power. You ignore this. For the same amount of power nuclear saves 600 billion tons of coal being burned each year, assuming we are talking about replacing coal plants with either nuclear or wind. that is the only fair logical comparison. As illustrated by the above story it is necessary to have 100% back-up for wind. No fossil fuel plant can be shut down. This, of course, adds to total cost of operation which is another cost that I did not add in. A good guess 25 to 30% cost adder to keep all these plants ready. Actually there is real savings in just operating the back-up plants as they are a fraction of the cost. Well, this leads to the inevitable question, “Why build wind in the first place?”

    Give it up on the net gain nonsense. All carbon diode is identical, to say a different generation source is addative and others somehow are not is preposterous. One atom of carbon, two of oxygen. It is all the same. The suposition that all the CO2 from all natural sources can be handled by photosynthesis and only man-made CO2 hangs around without being broken down as all the other is, is simply ludicrous.

    The IPCC predictions:

    Global Predictions
    The quasi-regularity of some natural climate forcing mechanisms, combined with knowledge of human-made forcings, allows projection of near-term global temperature trends with reasonably high confidence. Prediction for a specific year is a bit hazardous, as evidenced by an incorrect prediction of record global warmth made by the British climate analysis group for 2007. Such speculations are useful, as they draw attention to the mechanisms, and allow testing of understanding. Presumably part of the basis for their prediction was an assumption of a continued warming contribution from the 2006 El Niño. However, evidence of El Niño warmth disappeared very early in 2007.
    Solar irradiance will still be on or near its flat-bottomed minimum in 2008. Temperature tendency associated with the solar cycle, because of the Earth’s thermal inertia, has its minimum delayed by almost a quarter cycle, i.e., about two years. Thus solar change should not contribute significantly to temperature change in 2008.
    La Niña cooling in the second half of 2007 (Figure 2) is about as intense as the regional cooling associated with any La Niña of the past half century, as shown by comparison to Plate 9 in Hansen et al. (Hansen et al. 1999) and updates to Plate 9 on the GISS web site. Effect of the current La Niña on global surface temperature is likely to continue for at least the first several months of 2008. Based on sequences of Pacific Ocean surface temperature patterns in Plate 9, a next El Niño in 2009 or 2010 is perhaps the most likely timing. But whatever year it occurs, it is a pretty safe bet that the next El Niño will help carry global temperature to a significantly higher level.
    Competing with the short-term solar and La Niña cooling effects is the long-term global warming effect of human-made GHGs. The latter includes the trend toward less Arctic sea ice that markedly increases high latitude Northern Hemisphere temperatures. Although sea ice cover fluctuates from year to year, the large recent loss of thick multi-year ice implies that this warming effect at high latitudes should persist.
    Based on these considerations, it is unlikely that 2008 will be a year with truly exceptional global mean temperature. These considerations also suggest that, barring the unlikely event of a large volcanic eruption, a record global temperature clearly exceeding that of 2005 can be expected within the next 2-3 years.

    Reality; we have had two years of historic drops in temperature. Knowing this one would have to adopt global warming as a reigion to believe that they are correct.

    Your problem is a very common one with zealots. They expect to answer a question and get the answer they want. they like a conversation that fits the talking points they have learned by rote. When exposed to someone who actually has the capacity to think and responds with completely rational and provable answers different from where they would like to lead them, they get irritated and nasty. Anything that doesn’t conform with their predetermined script is deemed “inappropriate”.

    They keep asking the same question expecting a different reponse. Continuing a behavior, getting the same response; continuing again and again trying desperately to get the answer they want ignoring reality and repeating time and time again thinking the answer will change. This is Einstein’s definition of insanity.

  32. “Give it up on the net gain nonsense. All carbon diode is identical, to say a different generation source is addative and others somehow are not is preposterous. One atom of carbon, two of oxygen. It is all the same. The suposition that all the CO2 from all natural sources can be handled by photosynthesis and only man-made CO2 hangs around without being broken down as all the other is, is simply ludicrous.”

    You still don’t get it do you? I never said human breathing produced CO2 was any different than fossil fuel CO2 in how it reacts as basic compound. I said human breathing CO2 is part of a closed system that does not increase the level of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

    Burning fossil fuel adds CO2 to the atmosphere and increases the concentration of CO2 because it was FORMERLY BURIED IN THE GROUND AND PREVENTED FROM ENTERING THE ATMOSPHERIC SYSTEM. The amount, percent, concentration, volume, level of CO2 in the atmosphere rises from burning fossil fuels.

    If you can’t wrap your pea brain around that simple notion, paying attention to the rest of your blather is pointless.

  33. Christopher, “I said human breathing CO2 is part of a closed system that does not increase the level of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.”

    Jon says, You don’t seem to understand that the entire ecosystem of carbon dioxide production from man, by breathing and having a modern civilization, and by the 97% of CO2 produced naturely. Then the plants of the world break down all CO2 into carbon (carbohydrates) for their growth and releasing oxygen into the air. It is a natural symbiotic relationship that has existed for millions of years. CO2 from burning is no different.

    You continue to keep suggesting that I am not answering your question. This is entirely false. It is not that I have not answered all your questions you simply don’t like the answer. The answer doesn’t fit your script, so you keep insinuating that I have not answered the question. You either do not understand basic biology or you are pushing phoney ideology. I think it is the latter. I don’t think you are that stupid not to learn, I could be wrong, I don’t think so.

    Christopher said, “Burning fossil fuel adds CO2 to the atmosphere and increases the concentration of CO2 because it was FORMERLY BURIED IN THE GROUND AND PREVENTED FROM ENTERING THE ATMOSPHERIC SYSTEM.”

    Jon says, ” All carbon was buried in the ground. There is no other source of carbon.”

    Christopher your problem is that you are trying to present an arguement when you have very little knowledge of the subject. You have no knowledge of how greenhouse gases work and carbon dioxide’s role. When you get a response that does not fit your script you become frustrated. When confronted with scientific facts, you have no answers. Instead of discussing these things in an intelligent manner you realize you cannot. That is why your postings always end with childish rantings. That is how you evidently get along in life.

  34. The last refuge of someone who is ignorant of a subject and doesn’t have an intelligent response to logic…… be obnoxious.

    Dude, that is you. Obnoxius and ignorant.

  35. The article in the NY Times stating carbon dioxide is rising is fine. The real question is why. Scientists have long known that carbon dioxide levels rise after warming periods. They know this by studying ice cores and the air trapped in the ice. the most notable study was done in Vostock.

    As I explained before, there was an era of cooling which eneded at the end of the eighteenth century called the “Little Ice Age”. Temperatures have been warming since then as have been carbon dioxide levels with the CO2 levels lagging the warming as is typical as shown by hundreds of thousands of years of ice cores.

    When temperatures were rising and the carbon dioxide levels were as well, the corralation was made that carbon dioxide caused warming. The evidence supported by hundreds of thousands of years of ice cores is that just the opposite may be true and global warming could very well cause carbon dioxide levels to rise. These changes in levels happen over hundreds of years so it is entirely possible that CO2 levels will continue to rise as we cool.

    The cooling is very rationally and scientifically tied to solar activity and the blocking or allowing of cosmic radiation through to the earth’s atmosphere. When solar activity is low more cosmic radiation gets through to the atmosphere and more clouds are formed (cosmic radiation is a large cause of cloud formation; this is an uncontested scientific fact). More clouds, more shading of the earth, cooler climate. This is most likely why we are cooling as there is a long predicted lessening of solar activity. This theory agrees with 450,000 years of history. The theory of global warming proposed by the IPCC accepts only 150 years of history, denies many periods within these 150 years and has never been correct in it’s 20 years of trying to predict global temperatures. The recent cooling after predictions of new record high temperatures is the most agregious.

    Those being payed to “study global warming” maintain the unexpected cooling is “climate change” or just “weather” When temperatures were risinf it was reason to disrupt the entire economy of the country, change our lifestyles, impose huge carbon taxes and were reasons for great hardships and sacrifice.

    Now that it is cooling it is just “weather”. Go figure.

    This post is for those who I know are intelligent enough to look at both sides of an issue. If anyone who disagrees and wants to come back and discuss the facts or challenge me with facts, I would be happy to discuss this further. I would hope we could do it as adults without resorting to name calling. We can all disagree, we should all do it respectfully and base our discussions on facts.

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