Bill Wallace

Bill Wallace 2 months ago on Jim Erickson: Letter based on false premise

I think we're saying about the same thing. I'm looking at the project from the Koch vantage point.

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Bill Wallace 2 months ago on Jim Erickson: Letter based on false premise

For those of you who are still looking up climate change stuff on the Internet to make your points, may I suggest locating The Berkeley Earth Project at http://berkeleyearth.org. This project started as an effort to, once and for all, show that climate change wasn't happening. The largest contributor to the project was the Charles G. Koch Foundation, a philanthropic arm of those rich and famous climate change deniers and funders of conservative causes, the Koch brothers.

Following the "Nixon-goes-to-China" strategy, the Koch brothers selected a credible climate change scientist/skeptic, Dr. Richard Muller, from UC Berkeley (a known bastion of liberalism) to run a study that for the first time would pull together all of the Earth’s temperature data from multiple sources. At the time, that amounted to 1.6 billion data points. After analyzing the data, Dr. Muller wrote an op-ed for the New York Times stating that based on his analysis the data he is no longer a climate change skeptic. He concluded that climate change is real and humans are the cause. Since then, the Koch Foundation dropped its sponsorship.

Whoops!

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Bill Wallace 2 months ago on Jim Erickson: Letter based on false premise

Thanks, Eric. I get responses like that all the time, predominantly from people whose world is replete with conspiracies and get their science from Fox News. One would think that, given what the scientists see as extraordinarily negative consequences posed by climate change, the conspiracy theorists would take the time to investigate the issue more throughly. Instead, they just find some article or website that supports the conclusions they want. And, sometimes they misinterpret the conclusions.

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Bill Wallace 2 months ago on Jim Erickson: Letter based on false premise

As I was reading Jim Erickson's letter on the Steamboat Pilot website, I was also going through the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC's) most recent assessment report on climate change mitigation. (I teach an on-line sustainable engineering graduate course and I'm in the process of updating it.) This report is one of dozens of reports produced and vetted by literally thousands of credible climate scientists from all over the world. Incidentally, that's what the IPCC does: bring together the best climate science knowledge from around the world, assess the current state of the science on climate change, and make recommendations to policy-makers.

Climate science will never be "certain", especially in the minds of those whose jobs depend on it not being certain. Regardless, based on what I'm reading in this and many other vetted scientific reports, the people who have credibility in this field believe that climate change is happening, is mostly human-caused, and will devastate our economy many times more than what might happen as we switch out of fossil fuels. Switching out of fossil fuels will provide an enormous boost to the U.S. economy by creating many new jobs in new industries based on renewable energy. That's from a former colleague, Dan Arvizu, who runs the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO.

So, Jim. Yes, the climate has undergone natural changes. In fact, it warms and cools on 100,000 year intervals, during which the temperature cycles about 8 degree C., tracking with atmospheric CO2 concentrations of between 200 and 300 ppm. Within those cycles there are occasional temperature hiccups, short lived. We know how CO2 contributes to global warming. The scary part is that CO2 is now at 400 ppm, and concentrations are increasing at unprecedented rates that oceans and forests cannot absorb. As a result, the temperature increases, the weather gets wilder, and the cost of dealing with that change gets incredibly expensive.

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Bill Wallace 4 months, 2 weeks ago on Kevin Copeland: Read up on climate

Holy conspiracy theories, Barry! I think you've watched too many episodes of the X-Files.

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Bill Wallace 4 months, 2 weeks ago on Kevin Copeland: Read up on climate

So, you would rather trust the oil and gas industry that makes its money but pushing and perpetuating the ever increasing use of non-renewable resources. What I teach in my sustainable engineering course is that global climate change is real, significant and negates current assumptions on environmental conditions, assumptions used by civil engineers to design public infrastructure.

Happy trails!

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Bill Wallace 4 months, 2 weeks ago on Kevin Copeland: Read up on climate

So, we can continue to play “Dueling Factoids” in this discussion thread, or play “Who Do You Trust.” My tendency is to trust the people who are recognized experts in this field, just as I tend to trust my tax accountant to deal with my taxes or my IT guy to deal with my computer systems. Also, I think I’m a decent engineer and I teach graduate courses in sustainability engineering. I continue to track the climate research and the associated empirical evidence, which continues to show overwhelmingly that climate change is real, human caused and is an urgent problem.

Now, I’ve made this point a number of times and the usual response from the “How do I know, Rush Limbaugh told me so” climate change denier set that you can’t believe the Societies or National Academies. They’re just a bunch of researchers whose sources of research $$$ would dry up if they took a position against the prevailing notion that climate change is real. My response is OK, if you want to, let’s play “Follow the Money.” Who stands to gain the most? Is it the researchers who may get a few hundred thousand dollars each to do their research, or those connected to the fossil fuel industry supply chain whose $20 trillion of existing hard assets will be turned into stranded assets if meaningful action is taken to mitigate climate change.

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Bill Wallace 4 months, 2 weeks ago on Kevin Copeland: Read up on climate

Kevin Copeland is practicing what social scientists call the Scientific Certainty Argumentation Method, also known by the delightfully appropriate acronym, SCAM. Science is filled with uncertainty and ambiguity, which was clearly true in the case of climate change. So, if you wanted to delay actions that might address climate change (and if you’re in a fossil fuel-related industry, save a whole bunch of money), the SCAM tactic is very useful and effective. It plays on our sense of fairness. We tend to give the benefit of the doubt, not wanting to take actions outside the norm until all reasonable doubt is removed and we are really “certain” that such actions are fully warranted. You apply SCAM to the issue by bringing up points, factual or otherwise, that cast doubt on the current scientific consensus on climate change.

Today, an additional problem with Copeland's argument is that their isn't any uncertainly left unless you want to take Barry Goldkind's whacko Internet references seriously. What we need to take seriously is how credible scientists address technical issues of import. Since it was set up by President Lincoln, over 150 years ago, the National Academies has been advising the government and the public on important issues pertaining to science, engineering and technology. To address these sorts of issues, The Academies draw on the best scientific and engineering minds in the country. On the issue of climate change, the position of the National Academies is that the climate change science is settled, and this nation’s (and the world’s) task should now focus on the hard part: dealing with climate change mitigation and adaptation. See http://nas-sites.org/americasclimatechoices/. The equivalent organizations in may other countries have reached the same conclusions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to which National Academy members are a part, has reached the same conclusions, and has assembled a vast and compelling set of peer-reviewed research and publications to back it up.

In the U.S. since 2007, the 40 or so other professional science and engineering societies have issued policy statements that either agree that climate change is a real, human caused and an urgent problem. Seven have been neutral. Interestingly, the last group to go from negative to neutral was the American Society of Petroleum Geologists. Go figure.

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Bill Wallace 7 months, 3 weeks ago on CenturyLink outage disrupts phone service, sends 911 calls to Moffat County

The blame for the outage lies with the construction company that cut the fiber-optic cable. In construction, it is standard operating procedure to locate and avoid underground utilities when you're digging dirt. The questions we ought to be raising are: (1) did the construction company work with CenturyLink to locate the cable before digging, (2) did our elected officials take any action after the July 6th cable cut to avoid future cuts, and (3) what are the penalties to be levied against the construction company for cutting the cable and seriously disrupting essential communication services.

In regard to #3, several years ago, the Comcast Internet cable was cut by a construction crew building one of those large, fancy condo/commercial buildings in downtown Steamboat, taking me out of business for about a day. What I learned from Comcast was that the city penalty for cutting the cable was $1000/day. That's chump change for a big construction project, leading to a construction company operating policy of "We don't care. We don't have to."

Instead of treating this second Internet/telephone outage as, "Hey, stuff happens", our elected officials should be all over this incident, protesting to CDOT and levying heavy fines on the construction company. Like the July 6th cable cut, I suspect nothing substantial will happen. So much for leadership.

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Bill Wallace 1 year, 4 months ago on Tougher trash ordinance from city would require more Steamboat residents to buy wildlife-proof containers

Wow, it's amazing what you can learn from Steamboat Springs City Council. Today, I learned that the bears that live in my part of the city (three that I know of) are pretty stupid. I know that 'cause in the 11 plus years I've been living here, no bear has ever gotten into our standard variety trash cans. Once a week at about 7:00 AM, I take them to the end our our rather long driveway and let the contents be handled by the Waste Management folks. Sure enough, no bear has ever touched them, thrashed them or did whatever intelligent bears do. That said, I really do feel sorry for the rest of you folks who have to put up with the intelligent bears that keep thrashing your trash. Oh, and maybe someone can explain to me how the City's bear population managed to segregate itself by IQ. Sure hope the smart ones aren't reading this and find out where I live. Hmmm...or can they?

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