Convincing the Climate Change Skeptics

Almost any scientist looking at a new idea views it with deep skepticism and doubts it, and that skepticism is only overcome by a consistent preponderance of evidence that keeps supporting the idea that that might be important – that global climate change driven by humans might actually be occurring. As that evidence has been accumulated, skeptic after skeptic among the scientists have decided, "Well, I'd better pay more attention to this." The physics of this is much more well understood. The models that incorporate all of our known aspects of physics and atmospheric chemistry and and climatology and so on, all predict that what we're doing is going to lead to climate change. All these bits of evidence keep falling into place. They all keep saying, "Gee, we'd better pay more attention to this global climate change idea," because when we look at some data that maybe would have rejected it, it doesn't. It supports that idea. I guess what I would say is that the idea is so real now.

There have been so many attempts to test it, so many attempts to reject the idea that we might be causing climate change which have not been successful, which keep supporting that hypothesis. I think it is now incumbent upon us to take it seriously and to do things to help slow the rate of climate change and hopefully stop it. If we find out in the long-term that climate change is not going to happen, we won't have done much to harm ourselves. But if we don't act now, we could have a runaway climate change that could basically greatly decrease the livability of the earth. The science is now solid enough that any reasonable person examining the scientific evidence would decide, "We have to pay attention to it. It's time to have some action.".

The Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor: Why Didn’t This Happen (and why is now the right time?)

>> For our presentation today from Kirk Sorensen, the founder of Flibe Energy. Kirk has been a promoter of energy from Thorium for a long time as [INDISTINCT] energyfromthorium.com where pretty big community of amateurs and experts from around the world that had been contributing to the community effort to define what would be the optimal Thorium reactor, nuclear reactor which generates electricity from Thorium. This is a technology that's been around for a long time since, shortly after World War Two. It was matured well up until early 1970s and then, and then kind of suddenly ended in favor of the liquid-metal fast breeder reactor which then also ended. And Kirk will give us a talk today and explain kind of what went wrong, why it stopped, why it–how is this been done. You know, if it's such a great idea, why aren’t we doing it? And their actions have very good reasons for that and maybe other reasons are cost and then, maybe we should start doing it again.

So, please have Kirk Sorensen. >> SORENSEN: Thank you very much, Chris. I'm very glad to be here at Google today and given another Tech-talk. I always enjoy coming and been a part of these things. The question that I'm going to try to answer today is one that I'm often asked as I give presentations on Thorium. In fact, I'm almost always asked this question which is, "Kirk, Thorium sounds like a great idea. It sounds like it's a good technology, why didn’t this happen?" We are Flibe Energy a new company to develop liquid fluoride Thorium reactor technology. We're following the vision of Alvin Weinberg. He was the director of Oak Ridge National Lab from the 50s to the 1970s and he had a vision of how we could use Thorium to advance beyond the current constrains of our society in terms of fossil fuels, hydro power and existing nuclear technology.

One of the amazing parts about his vision was how this could transform not only the US economy but many other places in the world. Some of which don’t have the resources that we have in terms of fresh water or arable land. This is a vision he had of how Thorium reactors could be used to desalinate water, grow crops in desert areas and to some of us like caught terraforming the earth, but to really truly change the economic balance of the world. Weinberg's vision on the other hand, was brought to an end in the early 1970s and that is really the subject of the talk today. There really were three options for nuclear energy at the dawn of the nuclear era. There was Uranium-235 which was fissile form of Uranium. This was the form of Uranium, they could actually be utilized directly in a nuclear reactor. Most of the Uranium was the Uranium-238.

This had to be transformed into another nuclear fuel called Plutonium before it could be used. And then there was Thorium and in a similar magnitude reining 238, it also had to be transformed into another nuclear fuel, Uranium-233 before it could use in a reactor. There were some significant differences though between these three fuels. As I mentioned, Uranium-235 could be used directly. The other two had to be transformed and that meant, they needed two neutrons to be consumed, one to transform them and one to fission them. And in order for this to be a sustainable process, you have to know what will they emit more than two neutrons when they fission. And the answer was, "Yes, they did." In fact, all three of them emitted more than two neutrons when they fission.

Here was Uranium-235, Uranium-233 admitted about two and a half neutrons per fission and Plutonium with fission with almost three neutrons per fission. So, it would emit the most neutrons when it fissions. So, the first answer was yes. All three of the fuels gave off enough neutrons to sustain their consumption of reactor. But there was more to the story, this is a busy graph and I apologize in advance for it. But it tells the story of much of our nuclear history. And what it shows is, Plutonium doesn’t emit enough neutrons when it isn’t being fission by fast neutrons in order to continue the conversion of future Uranium into Plutonium to continue its breeding. It has to be fissioned by fast neutrons in order to do this. On the other hand, Thorium and Uranium-233 produce enough neutrons in both thermal and fast fission to continue the utilization of that fuel. I call it the Threshold of Two, and it's not just about how many neutrons they emit, but how many neutrons they emit even accounting for absorption. Because they don’t always fission every single time they're hit by a neutron.

Uranium-233 and Plutonium-239 of those two in thermal neutrons, only Uranium-233 crosses the Threshold of Two. In fast fission on the other hand, both Uranium-233 and Plutonium-239 crossed the Threshold of Two. So, it would seem, what we just want a fast reactor. We don’t want a reactor that uses slow down thermal neutrons, we want a fast reactor because–then we will great confidence that we will be able to sustain the consumption of nuclear fuel. Well, there's a powerful disincentive to doing it this way and it has to do with what are called, Cross-Sections. These are mathematical way of describing how likely it is that a nuclear reaction will proceed and they the form of areas, quite literally in area someone's called "a barn" which is, 10 to the minus 24 square centimeters. This is a really, really, really small unit to variat. But this is the unit that nuclear engineers used to describe how probable a nuclear reaction is. This is the cross-section of Uranium-233 to a thermal neutron.

By comparison, this very, very small circle right here is the cross-section of Uranium 233 to a fast neutron. So, it's not hard to see which one is more likely to have a fission reaction. A thermal neutron is far more likely to cause the fission reaction than a fast neutron. So, the advantage now seems to be for the thermal reactors. This is a general feature of almost all nuclear materials that their cross-sections are much larger to thermal neutrons than they are to fast neutrons. Here we see the cross-section of Plutonium. It's huge in the thermal spectrum and it's very, very small in the fast spectrum. And that means that Plutonium is much more likely to have a nuclear reaction to a slow down neutron than to a fast neutron. So again, why consider a fast reactor? Well, it's because–look at these red regions. Those regions indicate the probability that the neutron will be absorbed but not cause a fission, that it will simply just be absorbed.

You can see that, that probability is about 10% for Uranium-233 in the thermal. But if we were to magnify that cross-section, significantly by factor of 500, you could see that, that probability becomes much smaller in the fast spectrum. A fast neutron if it is absorbed almost always will cause a fission. This is significant for Uranium-233 but it's much more significant for Plutonium 239. It will absorb a neutron about one-third of the time and not cause a fission. But in the fast spectrum, it will almost always cause a fission. So, to make sure that we cross that Threshold of Two, it was necessary to build fast reactors that would use Plutonium. On the other hand, it was conceivable that you could build thermal or fast reactors that would use Uranium-233. This uncertainty was not particularly appearing at the time. They wanted to move out in directions that they felt very confident it.

So, the United States began to pursue a fast breeder reactor. In 1951, they build the experimental breeder reactor one in Idaho. This was a fast breeder reactor. This was a reactor that was going to not slow down neutrons but use fast neutrons to convert Uranium into Plutonium and to breed from it. This was actually the first reactor to generate some power. It lit four little light bulbs and ultimately generated, I believe several hundred kilowatts of power. But it shows how early the United States was moving out on the fast breeder reactor. It was followed by the experimental breed reactor number two, which was also a fast breeder reactor much larger this time. It made 62 megawatts of thermal power. Industry got excited about the potential for making breeder reactors. This was actually a commercial reactor, The Enrico Fermi Breeder Reactor in Monroe Michigan. They began working on this reactor in 1957 and it achieved criticality in 1966. But shortly after it achieved criticality, they had a melt down at the Enrico Fermi Reactor where the reactor was damaged and shut down.

At this time, Alvin Weinberg and his colleagues at the Oak Ridge National Labs were working on Molten-salt Reactors. These were reactors that didn’t operate in the fast spectrum. They operate to slow down neutrons and they predominantly were interested in using Thorium and Uranium-233. Weinberg wrote an introduction to a series of papers that were published in a nuclear journal in 1969. And these are some of the words that he used and I've always found it very interesting how careful and measured he was with his utilization of language. Because he knew that most of the effort of the country was on the fast breeder reactor and very little in comparison was on the Molten-Salt Reactor. And he said, "The prevailing view holds that the liquid-metal fast breeder reactor is the proper path to ubiquitous permanent energy.

It is no secret that I, as well many of my colleagues at Oak Ridge, have always felt differently. When the idea of the breeder was first suggested in 1943, the rapid and the efficient recycle of the partially spec core was regarded as the main problem. Nothing that has happened in the ensuing quarter century has fundamentally changed this." So, Weinberg begins to lay out the scenario that physics hasn't changed and unless you can rapidly reprocess nuclear fuel, you won't be able to realize the benefits of the breeder reactor. He then goes on to offer an alternative to the prevailing view. The successful breeder will be the one that can deal with the spent fuel or the spent core most rationally either by achieving extremely long burn up or by greatly simplifying the entire recycle step. We at Oak Ridge, have always been intrigued by this latter possibility. It explains our long commitment to liquid fuel reactors, first, the Aqueous homogenous and now the Molten-salt. So, he presented a different scenario, how they could use fluid field reactors to achieve the overall goal of the efficient utilization of nuclear fuel.

And the series of papers that followed in this were some of the first discussions in the nuclear literature about the potential of the Molten-salt reactor. It was not well-known. The moneys that had been appropriated in order to research the different breeder reactor types are listed in this graph and I found this graph, thanks to a book that had been scanned into Google books. Thanks. So, project started by my good friend, Chris Eucare here, so I greatly appreciate–this is one of the many things I'm sure people have done with your work. Numbers are one thing, so I took it and threw it in a spreadsheet and made a nice graph. The red line shows the expenditures on the fast breeder reactor, and this graph only begin to 1968. At that point, the United States had already built several fast breeder reactors. We're looking at 75 to nearly a hundred million dollars in 1968.

It's very hard to see the green line for the Molten-salt breeder reactor technology, it's extremely low and then ultimately, it was cancelled and briefly resurrected in 1975 and then cancelled again. So, on a scale of the appropriations that were made to the fast breeder reactor, you've just about can't see the appropriations that were made to the Molten-salt breeder reactor. In June of 1971, President Richard Nixon made a speech where he talked about the need for the fast breeder reactor. He put the United States on record that this would be a top national goal. Now, we don't have any video from the speech he gave that day. But later on in that day, he called Representative Craig Hosmer from California to tell him about the speech about the breeder reactor. >> Yeah. >> Calling for Craig Hosmer, sir. Ready? >> HOSMER: Oh. >> NIXON: Okay. >> HOSMER: Mister President? >> NIXON: Since you missed our meeting when we had–on a breeder reactor, you know.

.. >> HOSMER: Okay. >> NIXON: …I wanted you to know that we sent a message today, Craig but then I just told Zigler that–I told Zigler to tell the press that there's a by part [INDISTINCT] that you and [INDISTINCT] >> HOSMER: All right. >> NIXON: …had been bugged me about it. The one thing I wanted to tell you too is that, I–Holified was there last night at the [INDISTINCT] Club thing, and I–and I have told the people around here–now, this is got to be something we play very close to the vest, but I'm being ruthless on one thing, any activities that we possibly can, should be placed in southern California in this field. And also, in the saline water field. >> HOSMER: Correct. >> NIXON: You know, we need the jobs. We need to sum up those air passed workers. Now, we got some–we're going to do a couple of new things on water for example, and I have decided to throw one big plant in southern California.

I mean, you know, a big one of these implementing it, if you know what I mean, is… >> HOSMER: Right, right. >> NIXON: …it's just a question how big the plant is. But in this energy field, I told Dr. David and of course, Seaborg and the rest that we do it. So, on the committee, everytime you have a chance, needle them, say, "Where is this going to be?" Let's push the California thing. Can you do that? >> HOSMER: Incidentally, Mister President… >> NIXON: Yeah. >> HOSMER: …I am so delighted that you released $16 million on the improvement if the enriching complex. I bet that handles the bad… >> NIXON: Right. >> HOSMER: …political problem for us. >> NIXON: Right. Good, good. Well, they told me you were interested in it, and I said, "Well, if Hosmer is for it, I'm for it." >> SORENSEN: All right. Let's pause there.

You can tell just a little bit from listening to Nixon's words that, the fast breeder reactor was viewed by him and probably some others in administration as something that they could use to economic advantage for the people of southern California to get it. Nixon was from California, Hosman was from southern California, Holifield, Chet Holified who ran the–joined the committee on atomic energy was also from California. And I think some of the phrases in this–in this phone call is very interesting. I'm going to be ruthless on this. We've got to play this very close to the vest. It's about jobs, if you're for it, and I'm for it. It doesn't lead me to believe that the President was seriously considering alternatives to the fast breeder reactor. Another past that could’ve been taken. It was focused on what can we do right now to get jobs back home to the–the folks are going to support us in re-election.

Well a few months later, Nixon was at Hanford, Washington which is the side of many of our nations earliest nuclear energy facilities. And he was also giving a talk on the significance of the breeder reactor. And again, note the economic potential that he puts in front of people during his talk. >> NIXON: That is why I made an announcement on June the 4th, one that didn't get of course the enormous publicity of the announcement of the journey to China, one that didn't get the publicity of my announcement of the economic policy to deal with the problems of inflation and unemployment in this country. But one which in terms of the future of the country maybe in long term, long range terms even more important in some respects and that is, at the United States was going to go forward in building a breeder reactor.

Now, don't ask me what a breeder reactor is, ask Dr. Slazenger, but don't tell, I'm not to tell you because unless you're one of those PHDs, you won't understand it either. But what I do know is this, that here we have the potentiality of holding a new breakthrough and the development of power for peace, and that means jobs, jobs for this area but jobs and power for hundreds from millions of people all over the world. >> SORENSEN: Jobs, job is what it was all about. And this area that Nixon was talking to in Hanford, Washington, this was a very well-educated area. A lot of the people in the back in there probably had PHDs in nuclear engineering and knew exactly what a breeder reactor was. But Nixon was emphasizing the economic benefits to them of his announcement that there was going to be a breeder reactor. >> NIXON: All of this business about breeder reactors and nuclear energy and the stuff is over my–that was one of my poorest subjects, Science and I got through it, but I had to work too hard.

I gave it up when I was about a sophomore. >> SORENSEN: Well, maybe it might have benefited our country a little more if Nixon had been able to ascertain the different values of different types of a breeder reactors and why one might have an advantage over another. But nevertheless, the US was now firmly on the course of making the breeder reactor, a national priority. Nixon emphasized it in his State of the Union Speech. He then emphasized it in another message to congress, the democratic and republic in party platforms in 1972 both included the fast breeder reactor as a national priority. Now, this is about the time when Weinberg's story with the Molten-salt reactor begins to intersect this much larger story of the breeder reactor and the congressional support behind it as well as the presidential support. Testimony given in September of 1972, they noted that the US government would be expected to cover cost overruns on the breeder reactor and the development cost would go over $700,000,000.

At this point, industry had already committed $200,000,000 then your dollars to the breeder reactor effort. Representative Craig Hosmer, who was the fellow on the phone call that we heard earlier, said that "If cost targets were missed, I for one don't intend to scream and holler about it." It's not hard to see that they could see great economic benefits occurring to their area of the country if the breeder reactor program was to go forward. In that same month, the atomic energy commission issued WASH 1222, which was an evaluation of Weinberg's Molten-salt breeder reactor. It was highly critical of several technological issues that had been encountered during the development of that idea, more importantly though, it almost completely ignored the safety and economic improvements possible through the use of the Molten-salt breeder reactor technology.

Weinberg himself had a meeting which Chet Holified and Milton Shaw of the Atomic energy commission in 1972. We don't know exactly when this meeting took place. Our only record of it is contained in Weinberg's book, his autobiography, The First Nuclear. Here's what he said, "I found myself increasingly at odd with the reactor to the vision of the Atomic energy commission. The director at the time was Milton Shaw. Milt was cut from the Rickover cloth, he had a singleness of purpose and was prepared to bend the rules and regulations in achievement of his goal." Why would he feel this pressure if he has the president and these congressional folks pushing for the fast breeder reactor? "At the time, he became director, the atomic energy commission had made the liquid-metal fast breeder reactor, the primary goal of it's reactor program. Milt tackled the LMFBR project with Rickoverian dedication: woe unto any who stood in his way. This caused problems for me since I was still espousing the Molten-salt breeder." Milt was like a bull, he enjoyed congressional confidence so his position in the AEC was unassailable.

And it was clear that he had little confidence in me or Oak Ridge. After all, we were pushing Molten-salt not the fast breeder, more than that, we were being troublesome over the question of reactor safety. And that was another aspect that was getting Weinberg into trouble. He had invented the pressurized light water reactor that formed the backbone of the reactor technologies that were being developed in the country at that time. Here's a picture of some of the pressurized water reactors. His work on the Thorium reactor led him to believe that a significantly higher level of safety was possible. And this–in large part was because the Thorium reactor operated low pressures whereas, water-cooled reactors operated the high pressures. So, he was beginning to bring these issues up in support of the Thorium reactor, but it didn't have that effect. Congressman Chet Hollifield was clearly exasperated with me and he finally blurted out, "Alvin, if you're so concerned about the safety reactors, then I think it might be time for you to leave nuclear energy.

" But I was speechless, but it was apparent to me that my style, my attitude and my perception of future were no longer in tune with the powers within the AEC. And I think this was a very sad moment in the history of our country and probably in the history of the world because an entire direction of potential development was being ended at that moment by a not well thought out comment by Congressman Holifield, who was very powerful. Weinberg looked at this fairly philosophically when he wrote his autobiography in 1994. And He said, "I look back in these events, I realize that leaving Oak Ridge was the best thing that could have happened to me. My views about nuclear energy were at variance with those of the AEC congressional leadership. After all, it was I who had called nuclear energy a Faustian bargain, who continued to promote the molten-salt breeder. So, Weinberg's pursuit of Thorium appears to have had a great deal to do with why he was fired from his position at Oak Ridge in the atomic energy commission.

And it's not hard to see when you stack up the forces that weren't supportive of the fast breeder and that effort, the money, the industrial backing, the confidence they had and here is Weinberg trying to push something different, why they would attempt to truncate his work. The [INDISTINCT] that was in January of 1973, Oak Ridge was directed by the atomic energy commission to terminate the development of the molten-salt reactor. April of that year, Nixon went into reiterate his commitment to the fast breeder, saying it would extract 30 times more energy from Uranium than light water reactors and it was highest priority target for nuclear resear and development. We weren't the only ones pursuing the fast breeder reactor. In August 1973, the Phenix reactor in France achieved critically. So, we had real competition in this area and I think it had something to do with the zeal the United States felt to become preeminent in this field. But then something else happened in 1973 that was far more significant. The Yom Kippur war started, it led to the OPEC oil Embargo.

Suddenly, the United States, their supply of oil was cut back tremendously. There were long lines, gas stations, people were having to alternate days when they could buy gas, people were–somebody's not able to get to work, enormous amount of economic activity which truncated. Nixon felt great pressure so, he announced project independence which was a plan to make the United States energy independent by 1980. This involved building many fast breeder reactors, many conventional reactors, new oil drilling, new refineries, new coalmines, all kinds of things to make the United States independent in energy supply. He promoted these in talks before congress but then in March of 1974, the oil Embargo ended and pressure reduced to implement project independence. But something else happened that was very significant in 1974. India detonated a nuclear weapon that had been built from Plutonium separated from natural Uranium and a heavy water reactor.

This was a very significant event in the history of how the United States approached nuclear power because they became quite fearful, the Plutonium that could be separated from Uranium in reprocessing facilities would be able to be used in a nuclear weapon. And there are many arguments why that is not feasible in conventional light water nuclear reactors, but there are also other arguments on how changes on how you would put fuel through a reactor could lead to, so called Weapons Grade Plutonium, rather than what we call, Reactor Grade Plutonium which is not suitable for nuclear weapons. The entire fast breeder program was partially built on the assumption that separated Plutonium would be available from the light water reactors that we had already built. If we were able to take that Plutonium out, we would be able to start these fast breeder reactors because they required significantly more nuclear fuel to turn them on than a light water reactor did. And that had to do with those relative cross-sections I showed, how big the Plutonium cross-section was in the thermal reactor versus how small it was in the fast reactor. That's why it takes so much more fuel to start a fast breeder reactor for the same electrical power rating than a thermal reactor.

Nixon resigned in 1974 and Gerald Ford became the President. He put some changes in place for the atomic energy commission, splitting it into two new divisions, the nuclear regulatory commission and the energy research and development administration which would go on to become the DOE. The joint congressional committee in atomic energy lead by Chet Holifield was abolished, the balance of power which changed when Ford came in, in 1974 and made these changes to the AEC and to the congressional committee. But Ford still supported the fast breeder reactor. He mentioned it in several of his speeches including in State of the Union Address. He increased funding for RND for the fast breeder reactor. And he highlighted how the fast breeder reactor could be used to extend Uranium resources for centuries. As the 1976 election approached though, it was very close between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.

Jimmy Carter wanted Uranium reprocessing to be abolished. He did not want it to take place. Only about a week before the election, on October 28th, 1976, Ford took Carter's position. He said, "We are not going to reprocess Uranium anymore. We're not going to separate Plutonium," and he highlighted the risk of proliferation as one of the main reasons why he was making this decision. But it's almost certain that pressure from Carter and an attempt to improve his potential to win the 1976s election had to have something to do with it. At that time, the proposal was to build another fast breeder reactor. This time in Tennessee, very close to Oak Ridge on the Clinch River, so this was the proposal that was before the nation as Jimmy Carter became the President in 1977.

And Carter was not a supporter of this fast breeder reactor. He considered that the fast breeder reactor and its concentration had something to do with the lack of technology development and solar energy. He blamed the focus that had been on the fast breeder reactor. He called our society a Plutonium society that would use the fast breeder reactor. In April, he reiterated Ford's ban on reprocessing. So, not too much of a surprise, Ford had basically assumed Carter's position, Carter's says, "Yes, we will continue that as National Policy." He also calls for a cut back and funding for the Clinch River breeder reactor. However, he announced a new energy plan, focused less on petroleum and more on coal. He said, "There's no need to enter the Plutonium age by licensing or building a fast breeder reactor such as the proposed demonstration plan at Clinch River." And again, he blamed the emphasis on the breeder reactor for slow progress made in the progress of solar power. Surprisingly, Carter knew a thing or two about Thorium. And the reason he did is because at this time, Admiral Rickover was working with his neighbor reactors branch to load a Thorium Dioxide Uranium-233 Dioxide core into the shipping port reactor.

Carter was able to turn the switch that turned the first and only Thorium breeder reactor in US history on. Several times he mentioned how–we wanted to try other approaches to breeder reactors than Plutonium, specifically light water breeder reactors using Uranium. But then, a meltdown happened a Three Mile Island, public confidence in nuclear energy in particular the light water reactor really went down. Even after Ronald Reagan was elected and lifted the ban on commercial reprocessing, no reprocessing plans were built. In 1982, the shipping port reactor which had been running for five years at this point on the Thorium, Uranium-233 core were shut down. And when they examined the fuel, they found that there was 1% more fuel in the reactor than there was when they started. This proved finally a Thorium breeder reactor was possible in a thermal spectrum.

It had actually been done. It wasn't a Thorium molten-salt reactor, but it was a true Thorium breeder reactor. Another consequence of the decision not to reprocess nuclear fuel meant that we had to have a new strategy for the long-term disposal of Plutonium. Previously had been assumed that Plutonium from light water reactors would be sent to fast breeder reactors but without that, we need to know what to do. And so President Reagan sign in the Nuclear Waste Policy Act, which continues to be the law of the land till this day, and led to things like the [INDISTINCT] repository. The funding that went into the fast breeder reactor surprisingly peaked even after the United States had made the decision not to continue with reprocessing. And even under the Carter years, from 1976 to 1980, you can see funding levels for the fast breeder were very high.

So, this was a reactor type that dominated the long range planning of the United States for many, many years. The atomic energy commission saw Plutonium as a sure bet in the fast breeder. It could cross the Threshold of Two. There wasn't uncertainty there. There was a degree of uncertainty with Thorium. They invested early and heavily in the fast breeder reactor, despite failures and meltdowns, and industry got involved with hundreds of millions of dollars of investment. In 1971 Nixon, made this the US strategy, how are we going to go forward? It was going to be based around the fast breeder, and shortly thereafter, Weinberg was fired and the molten-salt reactor program was cancelled. Before it cancelled the fuel processing program and Carter extended that ban, without fuel reprocessing, the fast breeder was not a viable candidate anymore.

And nobody as far as we know in DC ever revisited the question of, "Was it a mistake to cancel the molten-salt reactor effort?" Should we have gone back and said, "You know, now that we're not going to do the fast breeder, maybe we should've done the molten-salt breeder reactor." In all of my studies, I have not been able to find any indication that, that ever took place, that there was a true revisiting of that decision to shut down and a rethinking. The team that worked on this at Oak Ridge disbanded and dispersed. And over the decades that fall the notch was totally forgotten. So now, here we are in 2011 asking, "Why is now the right time for the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor, which is the modern form of the Thorium molten-salt reactor originally proposed?" We know that we need much more energy at much lower prices.

And we have to do this with a much lower impact on the earth's environment. We know that we're facing severe challenges from global climate change, melting of glaciers, rising sea levels, changing weather patterns. We need to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we're putting into the atmosphere dramatically. There's tremendous uncertainty amongst the public about nuclear power because of the events of Akushima Daichi, even though no one was killed there. The coverage and the tone that it took has made people question the safety of nuclear power, primarily the light water reactor to be able to have a different technology that doesn't have some of the risks of operating high pressure fluids and reactors that have the capability to have meltdowns. It's significant. Our alternatives in the form of fossil fuel caused tremendous environmental degradation, not just in mining and processing, but also to our atmosphere, transporting these fuels. It's not cheap to build electrical power transmission lines either. So, even if we wanted to build renewable energy sources dispersed in a wide variety of places, they would face challenges in order to get transmission lines built from here to there.

To give you an idea of just some of the things we do in our high-tech online society today, this is a picture of a data center for Facebook that has been built just a hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. It consumes a hundred and twenty megawatts of hydro power, has 14 backup diesel generators to provide 40 megawatts of emergency power. It costs $760,000,000. This is one of the largest solar installations in the world. It's sited on a hundred and eighty-five hectares of land. It provides 20 megawatts of peak energy for 15 hours a day at $420,000,000, or about $33 a watt. That's six to seven times what it cost to put other power transmission in. So, this is in Spain and the data center is in Sweden.

So, here is an example of a customer that has a dense power demand that wants continuous power, no interruptions and it's in frozen Sweden and here is a diffused power supply in Spain. So, to run this building of those solar power systems, we'll need at least six, but we need more because these plants can only provide power for 15 hours a day. So, we'll need probably 10 or more of these sites to run one of these data centers. Plus, we'll need intercontinental transmission lines to get power from a place like Spain, that's nice and sunny, to a place like Sweden that's frozen. Is this what's going to happen? Probably not, probably what will happen is something more like this, where a dense power supply in the form of coal. This is the prettiest coal plant I've ever seen in my life. This is in Germany. But it provides 1600 megawatts of continuous power by burning lignite coal. Look at that, we could run 13 of those data centers with one of these coal plants.

Sounds great right? Well unless you're the environment. If we try to use expensive intermittent and alternative energy, it's not going to be the answer. Most populations, most people on earth can't afford unsubsidized alternative energy. It's just too expensive. What they'll go towards is cheap, reliable, dirty energy. That's not a viable answer for the world either. But it's the one that will be taken because most people don't have alternatives. We believe natural, inexpensive, and abundant Thorium is the answer. This is the material that is dense enough and reliable enough to provide the energy that the world needs, but the machine to make it work is the key. Why molten-salt? Because molten-salt is the only one of the four potential coolants in the reactor that can run at both high temperature and low pressure. It also has a remarkable feature because of the properties of molten-salt.

In the event of an emergency, the fuel could be drained into a passively safe, passively cool configuration. This is something that you can't do with a solid-fueled reactor. Finally, the advantages of the molten-salt reactor are significant, inherent passive safety through having fluid fuel and operating at low pressure. You can operate at high temperatures, which means you can get high thermodynamic efficiencies. Your fuel preparation costs are very low and there's no fuel fabrication cost. Fluorides also tried to be an excellent chemistry match with Uranium Thorium Fuel Cycle. They're chemically stable and they're impervious to radiation damage. That enables us to achieve unlimited fuel burn up and continuous recycling of the material from core to blanket. Uranium-233 is highly unsuitable for weapons diversion because of contamination with Uranium-232. And it's easy to down blend it in an emergency. Now, we do have challenges.

These salts could be aggressive towards most metal construction materials. It requires special materials to avoid being corroded by the salt. High temperature operation is also both a blessing and a challenge. But I think the fact that the technology base is largely stagnated for 40 years is our single greatest challenge towards going forward, and also the unknown nature of this within the nuclear community. It's very different than what we do today with water cooled Uranium fueled reactors. They are the basis for today's regulatory environment. And so, there will be a great deal of education needed for this technology to go forward. But I think it has great potential because of these attributes. And five energy aspires to be the world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of these liquid fluoride Thorium reactors.

Thank you very much..

8 Negative Effects of Climate Change

Climate change is real, and it’s affecting us all. From severe heat waves to extreme flooding, here are 8 negative effects of climate change. You’d wish it was all just a hoax… Number 8: Destruction of archeological sites We often think about how changes in the climate are threatening the lives of humans, animals, and plants on the planet. But we fail to realize that it’s not only the living that are affected by climate change. In fact, archeological sites – priceless windows to our past – are suffering as well. High sea waves are hitting Easter Island, the famous site of the moai – mysterious giant head-and-torso statues built by ancient Polynesians. The platforms supporting the moai are slowly being damaged by sea water, and if this continues, the monolithic figures might fall off and end up at the bottom of the ocean one day. Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado is also at risk, and is cited as one of the places most vulnerable to climate change in the US.

There are thousands of archeological sites here, constructed by the ancient Puebloans thousands of years ago. But rising temperatures have caused frequent wildfires, and with it the destruction of rock carvings. This also causes the exposure of new sites and artifacts that become vulnerable to erosion and flooding. These are just two examples of many priceless ancient artifacts and ancient archeological sites in the world that are at risk. Archeologists seem to be in a race against time to document and protect these places before they are gone forever. Number 7: Food shortages We’ve mentioned how climate change and global warming leads to drought, deforestation, and pest infestation. All of this combined causes one major problem – it inhibits the ability of farmers to grow food. In order to grow, crops need to be on fertile land, which becomes largely unavailable due to water shortages.

Food shortages have not occurred widely yet, and international trade will likely prevent any major famine to affect us soon – at least not in the near future. But at the rate we’re going, food prices will soon skyrocket, both due to shortages and the need for refrigeration when extreme heat waves come hitting. Third World countries on the other hand, have it harder. In less developed countries, drought equates to star facial and suffrage sing. Prolonged drought and conflict have left 16 million people across East Africa on the brink of star facial and in urgent need of food, water and medical treatment. Number 6: Rising CO2 levels Since the Industrial Revolution over 2 centuries ago, we’ve gradually been producing more and more Carbon Dioxide on a regular basis. With large scale industrialization and the burning of fossil fuels, we’ve put a total of 2000 gigatons of CO2 in the atmosphere, and about 40% of it has stayed there.

Humans have only been roaming this planet for a relatively short period, yet today’s CO2 levels are the highest they have ever been for millions of years. C02 is one of the main gases contributing to the greenhouse effect, the process by which radiation from the atmosphere heats the planet’s surface. The greenhouse effect is essential for supporting life on the planet, but its extreme intensification has led to global warming. Number 5: Global Warming Global warming – it is the main form of climate changing, and the 2 terms are even often used interchangeably. As of right now, the Earth is warming at a scary rate, 10 times faster than at the end of the Ice Age. Since we started measuring global surface temperature in 1850, each decade seems to surpass the previous, and that rate does not seem to be slowing down. This directly affects us in a number of ways, mainly in the form of drought and extreme weathers. Since the previous century, mega droughts have been appearing everywhere all over the Earth.

Rainfall has been scarce, farms get deserted, and lakes are drying up. Some lakes have even dried up completely, and are no longer existent. An example is Bolivia’s Lake Poopo, which was once its country’s second largest lake. The process of global warming brought increased temperatures to the region, and its evaporation rate multiplied exponentially since the 1990s. By December 2015, Lake Poopo had completely dried up, leaving only a few marshy areas. According to scientists, it is unlikely that it will ever recover. While some places are affected by drought, other places are more vulnerable to extreme weathers in the form of heat waves and storms. The frequency and duration of heat waves has increased greatly within the past half century, and are only going to get worse. Heat waves alone kill more people in the United States compared to natural disasters like tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods combined. Global warming also affects storm formation, by decreasing the temperature difference between the poles and the equator.

Some experts have found a correlation between global warming and the intensity of recent Atlantic Ocean tropical cyclones such as Katrina, Wilma, and Sandy. Number 4: Losing our forests Climate change affects all life on the planet, and this includes forest ecosystems, many of which have been destroyed indirectly by global warming. Bark beetles are major pests that feed and breed between the bark and wood of various tree species, damaging them in the process. These insects thrive in warm temperatures, and as a consequence of global warming, have expanded their ranges and proliferated widely in the forests of North America and Europe. Millions of acres of forest have been destroyed due to bark beetle infestation in recent years. Another cause of widespread deforestation is wildfire. While climate change does not directly cause trees to burn up, wildfires are generally the result of forests getting extremely dry.

Global warming lessens the humidity of forest areas, making them vulnerable to catch on fire. Forests in the western coast of USA, particularly in California, get set ablaze often during dry seasons. If rain fell more often, these forest fires would be extinguished much quicker. There has indeed been a notable increase in wildfires in California within the last decade compared to the decade before, meaning a correlation with climate change is very much likely, and would probably get worse with rising temperatures. Number 3: Insufficient energy to meet demands Since the dawn of mankind, people have learnt of various ways to keep themselves warm – from starting simple fires to creating electric-powered heaters. One of the main reasons for energy demand used to be heating, as people needed to survive long and chilly winters. But a global trend that started in the past century has seen a reversal, especially with the invention of cooling devices like refrigerators and air conditioners.

With the climate getting warmer and warmer, the demand for cooling has skyrocketed. With the increase in carbon emissions and the resulting hot temperatures, the demand for more energy to produce cooling is getting out of control. The worse thing is that this creates a neverending heat-producing cycle. More demand results in more power plants and cooling devices being created, which when used, emits more carbon that heats up the environment. Our only hope is the creation and use of clean energy sources that could keep up with the demands while breaking this vicious cycle. Research and development in solar power shows promise. On the other hand, hydro-electric power is expected to fall behind, as global warming and droughts have caused a decrease in river water levels. Without enough water flow, generators at the dams will not be able to provide energy.

Meanwhile, sea levels are rising, creating a potential risk of flood and storms that could cripple power generators along coastlines. This would disrupt power transmission to entire cities, and create a more desperate demand for energy. Number 2: Melting ice caps & rising sea levels Water covers more than 70% of our planet, and they absorb most of the heat added to the atmosphere. So it’s only natural that is where the extreme changes of climate change are seen. Sea levels around the world have been rising a 10th of an inch every year, and they’re already up 8 inches since 100 years ago. There are two reasons for this. One water expands as it gets warmer. Two, because glaciers, ice caps and icebergs are melting, so they add up to the ocean’s water volume. White sea ice is essential in reflecting sun rays back up into the atmosphere.

Without an ice layer, the dark ocean absorbs the heat rays, feeding the cycle forward. Summer sea ice in the Arctic has decreased a staggering 40% since just 40 years ago, making it the lowest in 1400 years. Antarctica is also experiencing a similar thing, with its western glaciers melting at an alarming rate. At this current rate, the oceans would be up a meter higher by the end of this century. Coastal settlements would be flooded, and many of them would become uninhabitable. And it’s not just cities, but entire nations are also at risk of being wiped off the map. The island country of Maldives is particularly endangered, and is at risk of being swallowed up by the ocean within the next few decades. Their leaders’ pleas to the world to cut global greenhouse gas emissions have been generally ignored, and they are already looking into purchasing new land from neighboring countries to settle their people in the future. Number 1: Animal extinction All the damages caused by climate change is not only affecting us humans, but nearly all the other species on the planet are also struggling to adapt to these changes that we have caused. A lot of animals, mostly birds, are seen beginning their seasonal migrations a lot earlier.

For instance, scientists have found that the Icelandic black-tailed godwits have started migrating 2 weeks earlier than normal to escape the summer heat. Some animals are moving away from their natural habitats towards cooler areas in higher elevations. The distribution patterns of Adelie penguins across Antarctica have also changed significantly. They are known to mainly feed on Antarctic krills, which are small crustaceans that stay under ice caps. But with fewer ice caps remaining, Adelie penguins find themselves in short of food supply leading to mass migrations. All this migration of various animal species is indeed a sign of the climate getting warmer every year. We have also seen a disturbing change within the behavior of several animals. The melting of polar ice in the summer has led to Polar bears channel arising their own cubs out of desperation in order to stay alive. The ocean is our planet’s largest carbon sink. With more Carbon Dioxide released into the atmosphere, more of it ends up dissolving into the ocean, causing a decrease in the water’s pH levels.

Although still far away from turning the ocean into acid, creatures with calcium shells are really sensitive to these slight changes. The ocean is on the course of hitting a pH level of 7.8 within a century, which would mean the end of about one third of the ocean’s species. The Orange-spotted filefish has already gone locally extinct around Japan due to extensive coral bleaching and hypersensitivity to warm waters. Some animal species have already gone totally extinct. The Golden toad that was once native to the forests of Costa Rica was last sighted in 1989, having likely all bite off due to high temperatures. They were known to mate in wet conditions, and the repeated dry seasons presumably ended their species..

Trump Got Climate Change Pretty Wrong in His Paris Speech (HBO)

— Thus, as of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the nonbinding Paris Accord and the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country. — And with that, Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the most comprehensive climate deal in the history of the planet— and the best hope of limiting continued global warming. Trump spent most of his 28-minute Rose Garden speech talking about economics: — The Paris Climate Accord is simply the latest example of Washington entering into an agreement that disadvantages the United States to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers, who I love, and taxpayers to absorb the cost. — But when he did talk about the Paris Agreement, he was almost entirely wrong: — Even if the Paris Agreement were implemented in full, with total compliance from all nations, it is estimated it would only produce a two-tenths of one degree— think of that. This much.

— Actually, the Paris Climate Agreement wasn’t going to reduce global temperatures at all. The goal was always to cap the rise in global warming at 2°C— and even that goal meant coming to terms with a future in which tidal areas disappear, climate refugees are a daily part of life, and food and water scarcity could lead to greater violence between people and countries. Paris was hardly optimistic. — India will be able to double its coal production by 2020. Think of it—India can double their coal production, we’re supposed to get rid of ours… — Actually, India has canceled plans to build nearly 14 gigawatts of coal-fired power stations. Claims of China getting a “better deal” are just as baseless, but that’s not even the point. Part of the reason 194 other parties signed on to the Paris Agreement is that it doesn’t actually require any of them to do anything specific. They each got to pick their own path to reaching their commitments.

So if the United States wanted to, for example, double coal output and quadruple solar, it could do that. It would break the pledge, but there are no consequences for breaking it. The entire agreement is a giant global pinky promise in which everybody tries to do the right thing for the planet. — As the Wall Street Journal wrote this morning, the reality is that withdrawing is in America’s economic interest and won’t matter much to the climate. — The numbers are pretty simple. If the U.S. doesn’t drastically reduce its current carbon output, it’ll be responsible for an additional 0.3°C of global warming by 2100. And it’s not like other countries could simply pull more weight. According to a study in Nature Climate Change, any delay from the United States makes the overall target of limiting warming to 2° unreachable. You can say it was a jobs speech.

You can say it was a brilliant tactical speech that will allow Trump to re-negotiate for terms that benefit Americans— and some Trump supporters will say that. What you can’t say is that Trump’s speech was fluent in the facts of the very agreement he’s pulling out of..

An Economic Case for Acting on Climate

When you're sitting in Boston with the average temperature is 48 degrees Fahrenheit, three or four degrees of warming in terms of average temperatures, that actually sounds nice. But if I told you that that corresponds to maybe 10, 20, 30 more days a year where it gets too hot to work outside, then it's suddenly a different story. As a student of economics, I see climate change as the ultimate market failure, it's the ultimate global public goods problem, so that's interesting from the intellectual standpoint but probably more importantly from a public welfare standpoint, I see climate change as probably one of the defining challenges of my generation. We're only beginning to understand the extent to which changes in climate, particularly as they manifest in increased extreme events, may affect economic welfare, economic productivity. Looking at U.S. automobile manufacturing plants, a week with six or more days above 90 degrees Fahrenheit results in roughly eight percent reduction in output and, more importantly, that output is not made up in later weeks, right, it's not like they just work overtime on a cooler week to make up for that. There's just so much uncertainty involved and we're trying to make policy on fifty to a hundred year timescale, something that we really haven't done before as a civilization.

And so being able to clarify even small catches, right, of the shroud of uncertainty that surrounds this issue is a hugely valuable task that places like Harvard are uniquely well positioned to tackle..

Trump pulls U S out of non binding Paris Climate Accord — Here’s why he was right to do it

Trump pulls U.S. out of non-binding Paris Climate Accord � Here�s why he was right to do it by: JD Heyes Far-Left Democrats and so-called �environmentalists� who still believe the global warming hoax are furious at President Donald J. Trump for keeping his campaign pledge to withdraw the United States from the �non-binding� Paris Climate Accords signed onto by the Obama administration. But perhaps after they calm down and allow their blood pressure to return to normal, they can take a rational, reasoned look at why the president made his decision; if they afford him that courtesy, there is no way they can conclude that his decision was wrong. In making the announcement from the White House Rose Garden Thursday afternoon, Trump stated that he felt obligated to withdraw from the agreement � which should have been sent to the U.

S. Senate by Obama to be ratified as a treaty, because that�s what it was, in both style and substance � because it is �a bad deal� for American workers, taxpayers and companies. (RELATED: The Paris Climate Accord is GENOCIDE against plants, forests and all life on our planet) Trump also knocked the cost of the agreement � which will rise to some $450 billion a year, much of which would have to come from the U.S. � while major polluters who are also signatories to the deal do not have to comply with the accords� emissions limitations for more than a decade. Meanwhile, the U.S. has to comply immediately. The president also lashed out at his critics who said pulling out of the deal would be a disaster for the country, noting that remaining in the agreement would cost American families and businesses billions per year. Also, he said, the agreement prohibited the U.S. from �conducting its own domestic economic affairs� by preventing the development of our own natural resources, like clean coal and natural gas, both of which create far fewer emissions than other forms of energy.

�I was elected to represent the people of Pittsburg, not Paris,� Trump said. �It�s time to pursue a new deal that protects� the environment, as well as the American people. Trump, according to various experts and analyses, was right to withdraw from the current agreement as written. �Through a litany of regulations stemming from the agreement, Obama has essentially offered up the U.S. economy as a sacrificial lamb to further his own legacy,� Americans for Tax Reform noted Wednesday in a post on its website. �Sadly, the agreement will not just hurt the country�s growth as a whole, but will trickle down to low-and-middle income Americans. As a result of the agreement, energy costs will skyrocket, in turn raising the cost of utility bills for families and increasing the costs of consumer goods.

� (RELATED: UN official actually ADMITS that �global warming� is a scam designed to �change world�s economic model�) A study of the agreement by the Heritage Foundation, released in April 2016, found that the agreement would have resulted in the adoption of government policies that dramatically increased electricity costs for a family of four between 13 and 20 percent annually. In addition, the analysis found that American families would lose out on some $20,000 in income by 2035, regressive (not progressive) economic policies that no doubt would hit the nation�s poorest the hardest. [Meanwhile, we�re sure that Obama won�t have any trouble paying his electric bill, no matter what it costs] Other analysts, as Trump noted in his speech, noted that the loss of U.S. annual gross domestic product would be close to $3 trillion by 2035, while reducing employment in the U.S.

by about 400,000 jobs, half of which would be in manufacturing. But perhaps most galling of all is the fact that even the far Left admitted that the agreement would accomplish virtually nothing � and certainly was not the global carbon emissions destroyer its principle advocates made it out to be. Politico Europe reported: In fact, emissions reductions are barely on the table at all. Instead, the talks are rigged to ensure an agreement is reached regardless of how little action countries plan to take. The developing world, projected to account for four-fifths of all carbon-dioxide emissions this century, will earn applause for what amounts to a promise to stay on their pre-existing trajectory of emissions-intensive growth. As Trump said, �The agreement is a massive redistribution of wealth from the U.S. to other countries.� There is no good reason to remain in it, just as there was no good reason for Obama to have signed it..

 

Kansas: Conservation, the “5th Fuel” (ENERGY QUEST USA)

Narrator: Kansas, a land of wheat, and corn, and cattle. In the heart of the country, it's number 48 out of all 50 states in energy efficiency. So this is a place where energy conservation can really make a difference. Come on, girls. Our region is a region of farmers. We are famously conservative and we have talked from the beginning about putting the conserve back in conservative. Narrator: According to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, improvements in energy efficiency have the potential to deliver more than $700 billion in cost savings in the U.S. alone. But, they say motivating consumers to take action is the key to unlocking this potential and that was the aim of Nancy Jackson's Climate and Energy project, with its Take Charge! Challenge. Kansans are patriotic, Kansans are hardworking, Kansans are humble.

Narrator: And Kansans are competitive. You all are competing against Ottawa, Baldwin City, and Paola, so really, you gotta beat those guys, yes? Do you want to help us beat Manhattan? Narrator: 2011 was the second year for the Take Charge! Challenge, a friendly competition among 16 communities arranged in four regional groups aiming to reduce their local energy use. Some of the lowest cost, most effective ways that you can take ownership of your energy future is taking ownership of the efficiency and the conservation of your house or your business. Narrator: Ray Hammarlund's office used federal stimulus dollars to fund four prizes of $100,000 for each of the four regions in the competition. Just as important as the grand prize, $25,000 went to each community to fund local coordinators who took the lead in galvanizing grassroots efforts.

Here's how the challenge worked in Iola. The challenge started in January of this year and ends October 1st. You're required to have three community events. We're going to have a lot more than that. Today, we are at the Fight The Energy Hog Festival. Becky Nilges: I love the hog. He was just so ugly that he is cute. He represents energy hogs in your home. You would probably let him in but you don't know the damage he's going to do. Narrator: Competing towns scored points by counting how many cfl bulbs and programmable thermostats were installed and how many professional home energy audits were done. Our job as energy auditors, both for commercial buildings as well as residential buildings is, we're essentially detectives.

What's happening here? Is there a great deal of air leakage? And we're finding that the majority of the houses that we're dealing with actually use a lot more energy than they need to. Narrator: In Lawrence, a house of worship did an energy audit, made changes, and got a pretty nice donation in its collection plate. David Owen: One part of the audit was to contact the power company. Well, during that process we discovered they had been overcharging us. And so we got a check, a rebate check from them for $4,456. Narrator: Other changes start small, but add up. We were a little bit worried at one point that the congregation would not accept the very bright, white type lights. So as an experiment, we took one of these chandeliers and changed all the bulbs in it to the cfls. And then we took the priest over here and we said, "which one did we do?" and he could not tell us.

So that told us it was ok to do them all. Narrator: Changing lights, adding insulation, and upgrading windows paid off. Even though it's an old building, we saved 64% on the consumption of energy in this room. Narrator: Lighting makes up about 15% of a typical home's electricity bill, and lighting all of our residential and commercial buildings uses about 13% of the nation's total electricity. But changing out old bulbs is a lot easier than paying for audits and the energy enhancements they recommend. Here's where the 2011 Take Charge! Challenge promised material assistance using stimulus funds. Ken Wagner: It's a $500 audit that costs you $100. The rest of that $500 is covered under the Take Charge Challenge program through the Kansas Energy Office. We really love the competitive spirit of the program and I think it's really raised a whole awareness of energy efficiency and the importance of energy efficiency to a lot of segments in our community here.

Narrator: Even Baldwin City bankers were grateful for financial assistance from state and federal governments. Dave Hill: Nine months ago, we installed a 14 KW solar power system. I believe the initial cost of the system was basically $65,000 and then we got a substantial grant from USDA, I believe it was $20,000. We have about $18,000 of our own money invested in the system, after all the deductions. We think it will pay out in about 7-8 years. Narrator: David Crane of NRG Energy thinks that kind of approach makes good business sense. Crane: What I say to every businessman who has a customer-facing business, think of a solar panel not only as a source of electricity, think of it as a billboard. You don't even have to write your name on it. Just put it on the top of your store and it will be sending a message to your customers that you're doing the right thing when it comes to sustainable energy. Narrator: Surveys of why conservation is hard to achieve have found that people want one-stop shopping, a place where they can find out what to do and get practical recommendations about who to hire and what it all might cost, just what this new facility was to offer.

Now it's mid-October, time for the results of the 2011 Take Charge! Challenge. MC: Fort Scott. MC: And the winner is Baldwin City. Nancy Jackson: Over 100 billion BTUs were saved as a result of this Challenge, and millions and millions of dollars in each community. Those savings come from measures that have been installed that will guarantee those savings for years to come. So the savings are enormous over time. $100,000 has a nice ring to it and it's a nice cash award for a community of our size. Our challenge now is to continue on with energy efficiency and encourage our community to save. Nancy: One of our real goals was to help people to stop thinking about energy efficiency as the things they shouldn't do, as what not to do, and think about it instead as a tremendous opportunity to both save money in the near term, and to make our electric system more resilient in the long term.

So it's about what we can do, both individually and together, and for us that feels like the real win. The United States today is twice as energy efficient as it was in the 1970s. And I think we have the capability in the decades ahead to become twice as energy efficient again. We believe this is something that can be done really anywhere with great success..

EXPLAINED: Global Warming

Howdy. It’s me again. It’s been a while. Um, I haven’t made a video in quite a while because reasons. So I’d like to reintroduce myself, but won’t because we have some science to talk about. Follow me. We’re not going anywhere, so just stay put. If you’ve ever listened in on a conversation about global warming, you’ve probably heard that it’s a greenhouse effect caused by carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere trapping in the heat from the sun. While this simple one sentence explanation is indeed correct, is brings up another question that I don’t hear asked very often: “If the earth is able to use the layer of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to trap in heat from the sun, why does that same layer of carbon dioxide also not block the heat from ever getting into the atmosphere to begin with.

” People often describe this greenhouse effect as if the carbon dioxide is acting as a two-way mirror, which allow the sun’s rays to pass through the atmosphere when they’re coming in from space, but then traps them in after they’ve been reflected back off of the earth’s surface. It doesn’t make any sense. So what’s the deal? Are carbon dioxide molecules special or something? Do they have, like, a shiny side that’s always faced down that’s constantly reflecting the heat off of the earth? Yep! No… no they don’t. You’re dumb. But I’m you. Oh right. So we all know that the sun emits visible light, and most of us have heard ofthose nasty UV rays that cause sun burns and turn normal people into reality TV stars.

So in order to answer the question of how global warming is even possible, we’re going to have to talk about radiation. Electromagnetic radiation. So… light… just light. Ultraviolet light is a high frequency electromagnetic radiation that’s invisible to the human eye and is what’s responsible for heating up the surface of the earth. However, it does not heat the air. UV light comes from the sun, and because of its short wavelength, is able to pass through the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and is gets absorbed by the earth’s surface… or your skin… if you’re lucky. But not all of that UV light can get absorbed by the ground. The leftover energy gets reflected back away from the earth’s surface, but at a lower frequency we call infrared. Infrared light is a low frequency electromagnetic radiation that we also can’t see with the human eye. But even though we can’t see it, we can feel it… and we call it heat. It’s this infrared radiation that warms the air, and because if it’s longer wavelength, the carbon dioxide is able to trap it in and keep it close to home. Here’s a quick visual to put all the pieces together and help make sense of things.

The sun produces UV light which passes through the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. The earth’s surface absorbs most of the UV light and heats up. The leftover energy is reflected away from the earth as infrared radiation. The infrared radiation heats the air and is trapped in by the carbon dioxide. So there you have it. Hopefully that made sense and you learned a little something today. Thanks for watching. Have a good one. Oh, one other thing. Nothing, I just wanted to do that split screen thing again. Dude, get the **** out of here! Ok, sorry..

Climate Change: The Evidence and Our Options

– Ya know, you're slowing settling. I'm Teresa Mangum, the director of the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies here on campus. And our mission on campus is to encourage research, scholarship and arts practice across disciplines. And also across the community and the university. So, this conference today, could not be a better example, I hope, I think, of what happens when we put the arts, humanities, social sciences and scientists in a pot and stir. I wanna start by just very briefly thanking the organizers who have done an amazing job. They have worked very hard to put this conference together. And you'll be hearing from them over the next two days. But they are Brad Cramer, from a professor in Earth and Environmental Sciences. Barbara Eckstein from English. And Tyler Priest, who is in both History and Geographical and Sustainability Sciences. They've also been supported by Erica Damon and Andrew Hirst, two wonderful students here at the university that you'll get to know over these next few days.

And we've had numerable community and campus partners work with us to plan this conference and to support it. And they are all noted in the program. But I want to mention just a few of our community partners that include the Old Capitol Museum, the Englert Theatre and FilmScene. And then our co-sponsors on campus. Our main co-sponsors include the University of Iowa's International Programs, the Office for the Vice President of Research and Economic Development, the University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the National Foundation's Iowa Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program, the University of Iowa Provost Office, the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research here, and the College of Public Health, and Environment and Health Sciences Research Center. And I hope that you will take a look at the program at the many other departments and offices who generously contributed to make this conference happen.

I'll also just mention that following the lecture and discussion, we are having a reception at Brix, which is just a few blocks away on Linn Street. And we welcome you to join us. I'm gonna say two words and then turn things over to Todd to get us started. A 2012 essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books, bears the title "Welcome to the Anthropocene." The author David Biello, is the editor who oversees environment and energy for the journal Scientific American. In this review, Biello ponders the rising sea of literature about the fate of the environment. His comments are a fitting beginning for our conference. He writes, "It is far less interesting "to write about all the ways the world is wrong "than all the potential solutions. "Even in the heart of the most cancerous situation "the Gowanus Canal, where I live," he writes, "the Superfund site, "there is still beauty and hope to be found. "Plants carve a roothold "in the canal's collapsing wooden walls, "jellyfish pulse beneath kaleidoscopic oil slicks, "and green algae blooms in the fecund waters, "thanks to occasional pulses of sewage overflow.

"One day, oysters the size of dinner plates could return." He goes on, "Gliding in a canoe through this toxic waterway, "among the most polluted in the country, if not the world, "affords a unique perspective on nature's resilience "as well as humanity's. "After all, the Gowanus would not have "become a Superfund site "and therefore on the way to a cleaner future "if not for those of us who wanted "to use it for something different "than a flushing tunnel for waste. "Things can get better, "and there's a large portion of humanity "working towards that these days, "a global hive mind connected by the internet. "In the end, science will give us clues and imagination "but it is our own imagination that will light the way." And he concludes with a challenge that I would pose to all of us. "The most important literature we write in the Anthropocene "will be the words that enable us "to ensure breathable air, "drinkable water, nutritious food, "and the persistence of the abundant life "that makes it all possible on this rocky mothership.

"We'll also need a robust history to keep us honest, "We need an enduring, resilient, hopeful literature "for the Anthropocene." The organizers and my wonderful staff have spent the past two years debating, studying, fundraising, teaching and collaborating, as they planned this conference for us. Now, working together as artists, performers, activists, and all the rest, scholars and scientists. It's our job to find those words and images. And then to use them to inspire change. We're counting on our collective imagination to cast a bright light. And our collective conversations over the next few days, to take us farther along the way. Welcome, to the Anthropocene. (applause) – Good afternoon, thank you for braving the cold to come here about global warming. We have a great program in store for you.

I'm happy to see so many people show up and especially see so many of my students here. It's really nice to have this finally underway. Just another, Teresa mentioned some of the sponsors. I also want to pay a special thanks to Teresa and her staff at the Obermann Center. She's a fabulous leader. And gave us great counsel and direction in planning this conference. I also want to mention the Assistant Director of the Obermann Center, Jennifer New, who was really one of the creative forces in planning this symposium. Erin Hackathorn, who's been our field marshall, and has handled all the financial and logistical details in really an exceptional way. And Miriam Janechek, who has created the digital presence. The great website, if you haven't taken a look at that. and looked through the resources page and what we've created. The Twitter feed, it's really a nice resource that I hope will stay around for a while.

I'm not gonna talk about the Anthropocene so much as I wanna just say a few words via intoduction, about energy in Iowa. Many of our participants come from outside of Iowa, long ways. And maybe wondering why we're talking about energy in Iowa, which is for most people, is a farm state, not an energy state. But Iowa really is an energy state. I moved here a couple years ago from Houston, where you could find an energy symposium or energy conference everyday of the week. So it is a little unusual to be talking about energy in Iowa. But it probably won't be, as we move forward. It is a corn and soybean state. 23 million, 36 million acres devoted to corn and soybean. And if you paid attention to the Obermann Factoid Friday's, you would know that this is more than all the land in the U.

S. national parks in the lower 48 states combined. But it takes a lot of energy to plant and fertilize and harvest and transport those crops. And probably even more important, 47% of the coy, soy, I'm sorry, 47% of the corn crop in Iowa goes to the production of ethanol fuel. Iowa produces 30% of the nation's ethanol. And somewhere close to 47,000 jobs are linked to the ethanol industry, regardless of what you think of it. And so, Iowa is an energy state in a kind of contradictory way. Some people might, from some perspectives. It is also the third largest wind-producer in the United States, after Texas and California. More than 5,000 megawatts of installed capacity, 3,200 utility-scale turbines. 27% of the state's electricity generation comes from wind. Iowa was the first state to pass a renewable portfolio standard in 1983 that required the utilities to purchase wind power. And there's something close to 8,000 jobs connected to the wind energy industry in the United States.

Another way in which Iowa's linked to energy that may not be obvious, but will become more obvious in the next several years, is that North Dakota Bakken Crude rolls along the eastern and western borders of the state by rail. Another way that Iowa is getting close, or closer to the fracking industry, the hydraulic fracking industry, is just across the border in Wisconsin and Minnesota. We have large-scale frac sand mines, that mine the St. Peter Sandstone, which is a uniform and perfectly round form of sand that they use in hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania and especially in the Bakken. And it's threatening to spill over into some of the northeast counties of Iowa. So fracking, even though we don't actually, ya know, frack for oil and gas in Iowa, we are very closely connected to it. Iowa's long been a crossroads for migration and transportation.

And it is becoming a crossroads for energy too. There are two controversial transportation proposals that are before the state at the moment. One has a corridor running diagonally from the northwest corner of the state to the southeast corner of the state. under study for the construction of a pipeline to carry Bakken crude oil to Patoka, Illinois. And, along a sort of similar corridor, but a deviating corridor from the Bakken line, is a proposed, a proposal for a 500 mile high-voltage direct current transmission line that would bring wind power from the Buffalo Ridge region of Iowa, and South Dakota and Nebraska, to Illinois to plug into the grid in Illinois and deliver cleaner energy. It's called the Rock Island Clean Line. So wind, hydrofractured crude, ethanol, and then also solar.

Just last year, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of third-party power purchasing agreements. Which is going to provide a boon to, and it's called the Eagle Point Solar case if you're interested in learning more about it. Which will be a boon to solar power development in Iowa. So a lot of things happening around energy in this state. So, I think it's an appropriate moment to think about energy cultures. To think about energy transitions. And in the context of our concern over the environment and over climate change. So, we'll be having fabulous speakers speaking to some of these larger issues. But I just wanted to, ya know, make sure you had that in mind, that we, even though you may not think of Iowa as an energy state, we are an energy state. So, welcome and thank you. I hope you can stay around for events tomorrow, Saturday. And enjoy the program.

And I'll turn it over to my co-organizer, Brad Cramer. (applause) – I'd like to once again thank everybody for coming out this afternoon. As well as, of course, all of our organizers and sponsors for this wonderful event. And very shortly, we'll have our esteemed colleague, Dr. Lonnie Thompson, up here to speak to you. And just very quickly wanted to discuss this topic of the Anthropocene. And hopefully, cut off some denial science very quickly before it ever begins. And so there is indeed yes, a debate among scientists, over whether or not the Anthropocene should be an official designation within the geologic time-scale. Okay, as it turns out, there is actually a group of people in the world whose responsibility is to determine official names for parts of earth history. Okay, very much like Pluto is no longer a planet, right? That's because a group of people decided that Pluto was no longer a planet. That does not mean that Pluto doesn't exist.

(audience laughs) It just means that it's not a planet anymore. Okay, same issue with the Anthropocene. The concept of the Anthropocene is very much predicated upon this idea that humans are now the dominant factor in geologic change on earth. Whether or not it is an official part of the geologic timescale is irrelevant to that conversation, okay. So, the fact that we are clearly the dominant factor of geological change on earth. That's not being debated. Whether or not it becomes an official time period, that's a completely different discussion okay. So, what Dr. Thompson will be up here to give us a wonderful lecture here in just a moment, is about the evidence of impact on climate by humans. Some of the best evidence that we have today comes from ice cores. Ice cores give us the ability to determine all sorts of perimeters in terms of the ancient atmosphere in the ancient earth system.

Dr. Thompson spent much of his career working on recovering those ice cores from very high altitudes, very inconvenient places. All sorts of difficult challenges to actually get at those records. And much of that discussion is what he'll be presenting us today. So without any further adieu, please Lonnie if you would come on up. I give you Dr. Lonnie Thompson, who is a distinguished university professor at the Ohio State University. He's also a senior research scientist at the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. Yes, and will be giving you your first lecture on our symposium of the Anthropocene. (applause) And one last request is please turn off your cellphones. Okay, thank you. – Alright, thank you very much. Thank you Brad. It's my pleasure to have an opportunity to come and speak to you today.

And I want to thank the organizing committee for inviting me. It's my first time to Iowa City. And I've enjoyed my interactions with faculty and students. And so I wanna talk about climate change and the evidence that we have found from the glaciers. And I wanna start out with some graphs, because that's what scientists do. But I'm going to change. I hope to serve as a transition into other disciplines because I do not believe. I've been studying climate for 30 years. and producing records. And if you look at the trends that we're on, we're still on those trends. And so how do we bring about change? And that's really gonna take all of us working together. First I wanna say that this is not a one-person activity.

It takes a team. Anything that you do takes a team, and we have a great team at Ohio State. We've had students and post-doc's take support from various organizations that make these things happen. And we've now drilled in 16 countries around the world. That could not be done without the collaboration of people in countries around the world to make that happen. So, it's really a team effort. But I think the problem is an extremely important one. So first of all, the earth's climate is changing. And the world is getting warmer, even though you might not think that here in Iowa today. But there's no debate about this. This is a scientific consensus around the world. And then we'll talk about glaciers as recorders of climate change. And this is when we drill into them. We get an ice core, we can look at how climate has changes through time. And then glaciers also are indicators of climate change. They respond when it gets warmer.

They retreat when it gets colder. They advance. So they are also an indicator of how things are changing. And I will also show you some evidence that in some places these glaciers are smaller then they've been in over 6,000 years. But then I wanna go onto the human side of climate change. And about eight years ago, I determined that we need a better understanding, Scientists need a better understanding of people. And why we do anything. And I had an invitation to speak to behavior analysts. 5,000, international conference, of why we do what we do as humans. And I thought this would be an opportunity. But when I was preparing for that talk, I. B.F. Skinner was one of the founding fathers of that discipline. And he was very optimistic when he was young, and middle-aged. But by the time he became 80, he was very concerned about whether we as species, can act in our own best interests.

And there were two things he was concerned about that relates to climate. And one is, one of our characteristics, is that immediate consequences outweigh delayed consequences. When we talk about climate change, we often talk about, ya know, what's gonna happen 20 years, 50 years, or in our children's lifetime. And so we, as a species, do not react. We're here and now type of people. And then, consequences for the individual outweigh consequences for others. We might be concerned about people being displaced in Bangladesh, but we'll be more concerned if we are displaced. And that's just some of the basic of our characteristics. Then I wanna talk a little about our options, and what I see is the greatest challenges in the 21st century. Then at the end, kind of a segue to Marles lectures, there's a new documentary produced by Ethan Steinman.

And it's called "Glacial Balance." But what he did was to go down the access of the Andes in South America. Looking at what's happening to the glaciers. and interviewing people that you would probably never hear from that live in these remote parts of the world. And we're all part of this human species on the planet. And so you get a different perspective from that. He also went up and filmed our last drilling project in that part of the world. So, there's a real difference between weather and climate. And I wanna talk a little bit about that. Global climate change involves many changes. It's not just temperature. We're looking at things like changes in precipitation, sea level, glaciers, sea ice, ecosystems. There's so many parts of our systems that are impacted by these changes. There have been three major scientific assessments in the last year, in 2014, that concur that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, as well as aerosols, into the earth's atmosphere are the dominant cause of the warming that we've seen since the 1950's on this planet.

Our need for energy underpins the documented rise in greenhouse gases, and we need to address how we will power the human enterprise in the coming decades and centuries, because of that. So, if we look at the temperatures, How they're changing. These are our instrumental records. And we can see that temperatures have risen about .95 degrees C or 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit over the period for which we have been measuring temperatures on the planet. And our warmest years on record have been 2005, 2010 and 2014. And probably the more telling of this is that if you look at the 15 warmest years on record, 14 have occurred since the year 2000. So, the planet is definitely getting warmer. And we can look at to where that warming is occurring and you can see that it's centered up here in the high latitudes in the Arctic and their reasons for the feedbacks in that region.

The climate of the last 30 years has been remarkable. There's been an increase in frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. And there are examples of these, and I'm gonna show some of those. The amounts of droughts and fires that occur on a global scale. And the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change models predict that these types of system responses to global climate change will become more frequent as we go forward in time. If you look at the decade, the decade changes in temperatures starting from 1961 to 1970, and coming up to 2001 to 2010, you can see how these are concentrated in the higher latitudes and on the continental areas of the planet. And particularly, this arctic amplication is occurring. As you melt back the sea ice, reduce the size of the glaciers. You're exposing darker surfaces that absorb more radiation, natural radiation coming in. And this tends to accelerate this process.

This is our record of what's happening to sea ice up in the Arctic. This is a closed basin. And in 2012, we had the minimum amount of sea ice and it was 19% below the previous minimum which was in 2007. And when you look at these records, what you're gonna see is the timing of when these things are occurring. And this is, it doesn't really matter which record you're looking at, you see the same trends that are taking place. So, amongst the changes, these are the Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover. And this has been decreasing, as you can see here. That's also another indicator of warming. If you look at the change in the global average, upper ocean heat content, you can see how that is rising over this same period of time. However, as human beings, we respond to what's happening in our own backyard.

And I wanna use this as an example. This is, I'm from Ohio, so last year was a very cold year in Ohio and in eastern U.S. And particularly in January. So if you look at the temperature distributions on the planet in January, you can see that yes, in our part of the world, it was extremely cold. But they were setting record temperatures up in Alaska, over in southern Greenland, and over in the Beijing area in China. And when you look at these temperatures of the planet, you have to look at the global average. And so, January 2014, actually was earth's fourth warmest January since we've been keeping instrumental records. Even though you would never be able to prove it in this part of the world. I'd like this diagram to show the difference between the weather and climate. And in this diagram, the man walking the dog, is the climate.

And if you ever watch the one walking the dog, they go in a straight line. However, the dog is going from fire hydrant to a piece of paper and going back and forth. Well the dog, is actually the weather. And I think probably, and Mark Twain said it best, when he said, "Climate is what you expect, "weather is what you get." And I wanna use Iowa City as an example. Last January, in Iowa, the 30 year average we would have expected to see temperature average of 23.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or minus 4.7 degrees C. But what ya got was weather which was 13.1 degrees Fahrenheit, and minus 10.5 degrees C. So there's a big difference in taking averages over 30 years and looking at this season to season variability. There's been natural mechanisms changing the climate on this planet through time.

And these are a few of them here. Changes in the output of the sun. We have an 11 year solar cycle. We have a 90 year Gleisburg cycle. And the energy from the sun is what drives the climate on this planet. We have changes in the amount of volcanic aerosols in the atmosphere. Every time we have a major eruption that puts tephra and sulfates into the stratosphere. The temperature at the surface of the planet actually cools for one or two years until that material falls out. We have internal variability. We have monsoons, we have ENSO's. And these have been with us for thousands of years, and they affect the climate. Now on top of that, we have the human factors. And these are non-natural mechanisms. These are changes in the concentrations of greenhouses gases. And we can measure that. Our longest record comes from in the atmosphere, actual measurements from model NOAH. We measure those gases in the air bubbles, in the ice, and we can take that record back in time to get a perspective on that. Changes in aerosols and particles also can cause changes in climate.

Sulfate aerosols can actually lead to cooling. And black carbon can actually lead to warming. So it depends on what types of particles we're looking at. Then there's also changes in reflectivity, or the albedo of the planet. As we need more and more land to support what is now 7.3 billion people on the planet. And when you change the surface of the vegetation, you change the albedo of the planet. So, a lot of different ways that we are impacting. Now, this is the immediate disturbing diagrams. These are the measurements at model NOAH that Charles Keeling started. He passed away in 2005. And if you go to the National Academy of Sciences, when you go into the hall, you'll see this on the wall. And unfortunately, there have been five IPCC reports. And if you look at the trend, it's not only increasing, it's actually accelerating. And we first crossed 400 parts per million by volume in 2012. And this year we crossed it in January of this year. We'll probably get up to about 402 parts per million by volume later this spring. Now, this is probably to me, the most interesting video that I've seen that kind of captures the Anthropocene relative to CO2.

So, I want you to take a look at this. This allows you to actually see how CO2 is emitted, where it's being emitted from. This is a NASA video for the year of 2006. And we'll take a look at that. – [Voiceover] Hi, this is Bill Putman. I'm a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. What you're looking at is a super-computer model of carbon dioxide levels in the earth's atmosphere. The visualization compresses one year of data into a few minutes. (lighthearted music) Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas affected by human activity. About half of the carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuel combustion remains in the atmosphere. While the other half is absorbed by natural land and ocean reservoirs. In the Northern Hemisphere we see the highest concentrations are focused around major emissions sources over North America, Europe and Asia.

Notice how the gas doesn't stay in one place. The dispersion of carbon dioxide is controlled by the large-scale weather patterns within the global circulation. During spring and summer, in the Northern Hemisphere, plants absorb a substantial amount of carbon dioxide through photosynthesis. Thus, removing some of the gas from the atmosphere. We see this change in the model as the red and purple colors start to fade. Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere, we see the release of another pollutant, carbon monoxide. This is a gas that's both harmful to the environment and to humans. During the summer months, plumes of carbon monoxide stream from fires in Africa, South America and Australia. contributing to high concentrations in the atmosphere. Notice how these emissions are also transported by winds to other parts of the world. As summer transitions to fall, and plant photosynthesis decreases, carbon dioxide begins to accumulate in the atmosphere. Although this change is expected, we're seeing higher concentrations of carbon dioxide accumulate in the atmosphere each year. This is contributing to the long-term trend of rising global temperatures.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, or OCO-2, will be the first NASA satellite mission to provide a global view of carbon dioxide. OCO-2 observations and atmospheric models like GEOS-5, will work closely together to better understand both human emissions and natural fluxes of carbon dioxide. This will help guide climate models toward more reliable predictions of future conditions across the globe. – I don't believe I've seen a better video to actually visualize and show you how these concentrations vary and they get distributed. And the fact that we all live on the same planet, and it's all connected. And to me, it's a very telling video. There's always been natural greenhouse effect on the planet. And that keeps the earth warm. About 14 degrees C or 57 degrees Fahrenheit, which makes life as we know it, possible. So what we're really concerned about is the enhanced, the anthropogenic greenhouse gases that are warming the earth even more. It's the added effect. And this is not new.

The science of the impacts of greenhouse gases, we've known for over 200 years. But we've, these earlier scientists didn't know is that we would develop the technology to extract all these fossil fuels, the carbon of the past, and release it so quickly back into the atmosphere. So this is certainly, the science is not new, it's based on chemistry and physics. We have models that allow us to look at how any one forcing will impact the climate on the planet. And I'm just gonna show a couple of these. This is going from the North Pole to the South Pole. This is what you would expect, if in the atmosphere, from greenhouse gases. We expect the troposphere, down where we live, to warm. But we'd expect the stratophere above, to actually cool. If you're looking at changes due to volcanic eruptions, You put material into the stratophere, tephra and aerosols, that will absorb radiation coming from the sun And the stratosphere will warm and the surface will cool. If you're looking at its driver being the sun, that radiation goes through both the stratophere and the troposphere.

So of you have an increase in output of the sun, both layers will warm equally. And you can combine all of these forcings. And that's done here. So you look at what we know about the last 100 years. And look at how we have expected temperatures to change. That's a model. And models are models. But what you can do is you can actually go out and measure, observe what's happened in the real atmosphere. And if you do that, what you see is up in the stratosphere, temperatures have been cooling. over the period for which we have a record. Except during times when we have volcanic eruptions like Egon, El Chichon, Pinatubo. Temperatures rise. Down in the troposphere, where we all live, temperatures have been rising at all levels in the atmosphere. So the response is expected from greenhouse forcing. And it's predicted by the climate models. It is not forced by the sun.

If it was forced by the sun, both of those layers would be warming. So this is how you fingerprint what the drivers are that are causing the changes that we're seeing. We also satellite observations of the solar output over the period when we've been setting maximum temperature records. And you can see that here. And what you see is there has been no change in the output of the sun over that period of time. So this is all about fingerprinting the causes. So, if you look at the actual temperature record. You can see it here. If you look at only the natural factors in the last hundred years, this is what you would expect. If you combine the natural with the human factors, this is the blue curve you see here. And you get a very good match to the observations, and the measurements that we have. And that's how you do the fingerprinting. There are a number of these recent documents that I've mentioned have come out in the last year.

This is one from the Royal Society of the U.K. and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. And it kinda goes through all the questions that you might ask. And what we, the evidence that we have for each of those questions. But the atmosphere and the oceans have warmed. The Arctic Sea ice is strongly declining in the summer. Arctic sea ice is becoming thinner and younger. The sea-level is rising. And climate variability is increasing with more extremes. If we look at our carbon dioxide record coming in from the ice cores, this is the last thousand years. So we were running along at about 280 parts per million by volume, 'til the Industrial Revolution. And then you can see how rapidly its been rising. This overlaps with the Mauna Loa record, which is the dark line here. So you can see how rapid that change is. So if you were using CO2 as an indicator of the Anthropocene, you'd probably put a date of about 1800 for this change. With the ice core records out of Antarctica, we can go back 800,000 years, and look at CO2 and temperature on the planet.

And this is the CO2 concentrations. And you can see they range from about 280 to parts per million, max, during warm periods. They dropped to about 280, 200 parts per million during glacial periods when they had big ice sheets in North America. And if you look at the temperature reconstuctions for the last 800,000 years, you can see that these are very much in sync. If you look at where we are today, aroundive to that 800,000 year history, you can see that there is no analog to 400 parts per million by volume recorded over that period of time. But what the real concern is, if you look at that trajectory that we're currently on, it's where we'll be by 2100. And what, how that will impact the climate of the system, and all the ecosystems on the planet, and including us. So these are tremendous changes. We talk more about carbon dioxide because it remains in the atmosphere for a very long time. We talk about decades to the millennium for its residence time. There are other greenhouse gases that you can measure in the ice cores. So these are 800,000 year history's carbon dioxide record, Methane, nitrous oxide, they all show this very large increase in the last 200 years.

And but if you look at the residence time in the atmosphere, you can see that CO2 is a hundred to thousands of years. Methane is only 10 to 11 years before its oxidized into CO2 in the atmosphere. Nitrous oxide is about 150 years. And the CFC's are about 65 to 120 years. So that's why you see a lot of discussions on carbon dioxide. And if you say, well what if we found a solution for our energy needs? We found alternative energy. And we stopped producing CO2 tomorrow, which is not gonna happen. How long would it take for CO2 to decline in the atmosphere? And this is looking forward in time. And you can see it when you're out. a hundred years, you'd still have about 1/3 of the CO2 that's currently in the atmosphere. When you're out a thousand years, you'd still have 20%. So it's gonna take a long time to turn the impacts of CO2 on the climate system. And it's kind of interesting to look at our best estimates for when did we have 400 parts per million by volume of CO2 in the atmosphere.

And we have to go back in the geologic record to about three million years, to the Pliocene. And in the Pliocene, temperatures were about two to two and a half degrees warmer. And sea level was 22 meters, or about 72 feet higher. And so this kind of shows the shoreline on the East Coast during that period of time. And that water was coming from, these are the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica today, and this is the projection of what they looked like about three million years ago. So those were the sources of that water. So the drivers are really us in a big way. This is the population of the planet. So we're at 7.3 billion. Estimated to be at nine billion by 2050. But it's not just this. It's what we need. So if you look at in 2013, just animals that we needed to feed these people.

We have over 30 billion fowl. These are chickens and ducks and things that we need to support. 1.9 billion sheep and goats, 1.4 billion cattle, One billion pigs, 400 million dogs, I have three of them. 500 million cats. You know this is a requirement. And this doesn't talk about the crops and things that we also need. And you can compare these numbers to the pre-exploitation number of American bison, in this part of the world. There are only 60 to 80 million. So humans are having tremendous impact in so many ways. You've probably all seen this picture of the earth on the International Space Station. About 65% of the world's electricity today is coming from fossil fuels. And, but what's really interesting is if you look at what the world is expected to look like by 2030, at our current rates of growth. So that's only about 15 years from now.

So this is from General Electric. This is what they expect the earth would look like at night on our current rate. We have over a billion people that do not even have electricity in the world today. And one of the aims is to bring electricity, which is very important to lives of people, around the world. So the real question is, where is that energy gonna come from that supports this growth. Well we've been looking at ice cores for the last 37 years. We have these long records, like the one I showed from Antarctica going back 800,000 years. We also have long records out of Greenland. But we've also been looking at the high mountain regions in between. This is a view of the Quelccaya Ice Cap margin in 1977, back when I was a graduate student. And this is the same place in 2002. And so it kind of brings home the picture that only are you losing a very important history of the past, but you're also losing a very important water resource. There are many things we can measure in the cores.

And where you have very distinct wet and dry seasons, like in the monsoon or down in South America. You can actually see these annual layers in the cores when you're recovering them. And of course you have to have laboratories. We have class-100 clean rooms, mass specs. We have over 7,000 meters of course, that are at minus 35 degrees C. It's the only tropical collection of ice on earth. And becoming more valuable everyday at OSU. And we also design and build the drills, a light-weight equipment that allows us to get up to about 20,000 feet to recover the cores. This is what a typical high mountain drilling operation would look like. And we experiment with different types of energy. Solar power, special diesels that'll work in cold environments to provide the energy for these. And so we've been drilling at these, on these mountaintops. And I'm just gonna show that these records in the tropics, actually spanned very long periods of time.

And when we started, no one, including us, believed that we could get histories that go back into the last ice age from the tropical mountain glaciers. But this is just one. This is Huascaran, it's the highest tropical mountain on earth. And the drill site is right in here in the col. And the reason you need very light-weight equipment is that they have to go across crevasses. And you have to use porters, or you have to carry this equipment up, six tons of equipment. Set up the drill site. And in this case, 53 days later, bring that six tons of equipment, plus four tons of ice, frozen ice down. And keep it frozen, and get it out of the tropics and back to the freezers at Ohio State. We have through time, improved the drills that we use, the piler for those.

So two cores to bedrock. We always do two so we can look at reproducibility. Of record, these are 168 meter cores. And you can see that in the upper part, you see it's very, these annual variations. It's the last hundred years. You see it in the isotopes. You see it in the dust records. You see it in the nitrates. which is related to vegetation in the Amazon. So they're very high-resolution records. And this record goes back almost 20,000 years. So, it's our first view of actually being able to look at what the isotopic record looked like in the tropics during the last glacial period. Up until this date, they were only found in Greenland and Antarctica. We could also look at nitrates, which are very low, which suggest lower vegetation out in the Amazon in the source areas. And the dust increases a hundred-fold, which suggests it was much dustier in this part of the world at that time. So you can reconstruct that history. So over the last 37 years, this is the place where places our team have recovered ice.

And the whole idea is to put together a global picture of climate as it's recorded in those glaciers. I think we often forget that we live on a sphere. And because of that, we have 50% of the surface area of the planet actually in the tropics between 30 North and 30 South. We have 70% of the people that live on this planet in that same zone. So it's an important area to understand. It's also where the water vapor, our most important greenhouse gas in the system, is being pumped into the atmosphere. So, and these actually show the drill sites in the lower latitudes where we now have wreckers. I'm gonna take you just to one of these down in the Quelccaya Ice Cap because it's such an unusual part of the world. We first drilled this ice cap in 1983. And we did that using the first ever solar-powered ice core drill. And back in 1983, solar power, the technology was not very well developed. And we got a lot of push-back that this would be impossible.

But it was the only way that you could get a power source into this remote part of the world. It was a two-day journey by horse. So when these horses and these bags are at the panels, and you can see the drill cable here. And this was the setting and this was the first solar-powered drill that was developed. And it, not only did we drill one, but we drilled two cores of bedrock from this ice cap. 160 meters using solar power. This is an unusual ice cap. You can see the drill site here. This is in the tropics. We're only 14 degrees south of the equator. 150 kilometers to the east, you're in the Amazon basin. You wouldn't think there would be so much ice at this latitude. And if you look down the crevasse on this glacier, you can see those annual dust layers every dry season. If you go into the crevasse, you can actually see how uniform these layers are.

And if you get an ice core, you can actually measure the thickness of the layers and reconstruct what precipitation has been in the past. And so, this is what an ice core looks like when it's recovered. And the records are brought back and they're analyzed. And these are isotopes. These are a temperature proxy, and they show the annual variations at this height. And every dry season, there's a dust layer. And so you can go back in time. And this record actually goes back 1,800 years. This is the last thousand years. This is the isotope record decato averages from the 1983 core, which was brought back as bottled water samples. Then we went back 20 years later, in 2003, to bring back ice cores. We had developed the technology to keep the ice frozen to get it back so we can preserve and archive for the future. And if you look at these, first of all, you'll note the reproducibility of the record over a 20 year period. And you can see in this record that it was warmer in this part, in the Medieval warm period, a little ice age, and then you can see the warming in the 20th century.

You can look at those annual layers, and reconstruct the precipitation in that valence record. The browns are dry periods. So this period is warm and dry. A little ice age starts wet, becomes dry. And you get into 20th century precipitation has been above average. So you can reconstruct these histories back through time. This part of the world is impacted by El Nino's that have tremendous global impacts on precipitation patterns. And if you're in South America, the northern Peru and Ecuador are very wet. during El Nino periods. Southern Peru is very dry. And what we've found is if you look, in this part of the world. If you go there pre-Spanish time, there've been many cultures and empires. This is the Inca Empire. And with this annual record, we can work with archeologists and anthropologists and actually look at how precipitation and temperature was varying during the times of rise and fall of those cultures. And if you do that, these are the blue curve here's a precipitation, high precipitation's blue.

The droughts are indicated here. When you look at that through time, these are cultures, the Moche culture was a coastal culture. And the capital was on the coast. When you get into the wet period in the highlands, we have development of the Tiwanaku and the Wari cultures. And the capitals move to the highlands. When it becomes dry in the highlands again, these cultures, in this case it's the Chimu culture, and the capital is moved back into the coastal area. And then when the rise of the Incas, is during this period, when it's getting wetter again. And this was the largest empire developed in that part of the world. And of course it came to an end when the Spanish arrived in 1531. But what is interesting is if you take that history and how people have moved through time, and you look at where we are today.

In the last hundred years, it's been wetter than average up in the highlands. And so, based on the past, people should be moving to where the water is. But since 1947, people have been actually moving from the highlands to the coastal desert. And to places like Lima, Peru, looking for a better way of life, education for their children. And now, over 50% of the population in Peru is actually in the coastal desert. And they have huge water shortages. In that country, 86% of their electricity is from hydropower. That water is also used for irrigation. It's also used for municipal water supplies. And Lima, Peru has severe water shortages today. And now they're talking about putting in tunnels through the Andes, to capture water that goes into the Amazon, and bring it across for their city.

But it's a lot of policy. Peru is the biggest asparagus producer on earth, now. They produce the asparagus out in the desert. And so they have to divert water from the Santa River in order to do that. And the question is, whether these things are sustainable. And they're certainly, we can raise similar questions here in this country. If you look, you can look at the impact of climate on people. But you can also look at the impact of people on the environment. And in this part of the world, mining has been a big issue, with the. It was developed in these pre-Spanish cultures. But it really took off when the area was colonized. This is actually a silver mine that is underneath a glacier. And actually going and so just two weeks ago, in the precedings of National Academy, we had a paper that looked at lead in the Quelccaya Ice Core as a indicator of mining activities.

And so, here's the Quelccaya Ice Cap. And there are three lake records here. And this was Potosi was a huge mining operation down in Bolivia. And if you looked at these records, you look at the silver production from the New World, from Peru and Potosi, you can see how this has varied through time. And you can actually see the evidence of the lead from those operations in the ice core. And so, if you were looking at the human impact in this part of the world, the first time we see evidence of that is in 1580 A.D.. There's lead deposits in Greenland that date back to over 200,000 years ago that came from mining operations in Spain. So, the human impact on the planet is quite large. We've been working on the Tibetan Plateau. This is the largest plateau on earth and it's got over 46,000 glaciers. Some of these records go back over 750,000 years. But one of the things that we see in all these ice cores, are all the thermonuclear bomb tests that humans have done in the atmosphere. That radioactivity goes around the world.

And so if you were looking at the Anthropocene as the development of nuclear weapons, and testing, you can see here the Ivy Test. This was a U.S. test at sea-level before we knew how dangerous these things were. You can see that in glaciers around the world as a spike in chlorine-36. And if you look at the Soviet test in 1962-63, we use these as timelines in the ice cores because we know when the tests took place. And we can measure those radioactive layers. Okay, so if you look at the last 2,000 years. Just kind of sum up what we see in the tropics. This on the Tibetan Plateau. And this is the last 2,000 years in South America. And some places you can see the Medieval Warm Period and other places you don't. Ya see a little ice age, and then the warming in the 20th century. So if you combine them, this is what's going on in the tropics over the last 20,000 years. Medieval Warm Period, a little ice age. And the real enrichment taking place in the 20th century. And you can compare that to temperature reconstructions from tree rings. Historical observations in the Northern Hemisphere overlap with their instrumental record. And what stands out is the last 50 years.

Now, I can tell you that is you go to the U.S. Senate and you talk about isotopes, they kind of glaze over. Because people have a hard time relating to isotopes, unless you're in that field. So I wanna talk about the visualization of the change. Because that's what we relate to. In 1983, when we drilled the Quelccaya Ice Cap, it had annual layers all the way to the summit. When we went back in 2003, you can see how the layers have disappeared. The reason they had disappeared is it's now melting at the summit. And water's going through the core's fern level and smoothing those out. So that melting started in 1991 on the summit of that ice cap. This is what I see is, and this is my favorite quote about ice. This is from Henry Pollack's book, "A World Without Ice". "Ice asks no questions, presents no arguments, "reads no newspapers, listens to no debates. "It is not burdened by any ideology "and it carries no political baggage "as it changes from a solid to liquid.

"It just melts." And I think this is probably the thing that's most compelling. So if you go to the Andes, back down to the Quelccaya Ice Cap, I've showed the changes that have taken place on the margins since 2002. But if you look at the whole area, this is a Landsat image. This is Cordillera Vilcanota, Quelccaya. This is in 1988. And if you look at this place 18 years later, initially you'll see lakes developing around the margins of this ice cap. But if you look at the change that is taking place in 18 years. All those yellow areas are where we've lost ice. And so we've lost 25% of the area of ice, in this region, since these observations were made. And you can find very old photographs. This is one from 1935 in the Cordillera Vilcanota. You can see the glaciers here. These were done on glass plates in 1935. But it allows us to go back to the same rock that this guy was sitting on in 1935. And look at the glaciers in 2006. And if you overlap those, you can actually see where the glaciers were in 1935. Where they are, these white areas, in 2006.

And you see it's not only the area, but they're thinning from the top-down. And this is something that's very difficult to see on a satellite. This photo was taken in 1978, of Qori Kalis. There's no lake in this valley. And this is going to fade into 2011. So, 1978 I'm a graduate student. By 2011, I'm pretty much the age I am now. And this is what you see from this survey point overlooking this valley. And I think if you go back to these places. And I've had the opportunity, you see these changes taking place. And they're taking place around the world. There's another development on this ice cap. This is 1977, this is now a lake in here. And this is the backside of that lake in 2002. You see a person here for scale. That wall's a hundred feet high. And the whole thing is retreating. And at the base of this wall, we found a wetland plant deposit.

Two meters across, perfectly preserved. We were able to collect that plant. And we were able to have it identified, and carbon-14 dated. And it's 5,000, this first plant we found in 2002, 5,200 years old. And it tells us this ice cap hasn't been smaller for 5,200 years. Otherwise, the plant would have decayed. And we took some botanists down. There are over 10 different species in these wetland plants. And they're rooted, they're in growth position, which is absolutely amazing underneath a glacier. You can see where the wall was in 2002. Three years later, here's the plant. And you can see where the wall is. And plants, other plants have continued to come out. And you can start to map out how this glacier has behaved in the past. All the plants collected on this side of the lake here, date about 4,700 years. When I first went to Qeulccaya, this was all ice. So this is a new lake. In 2011, there was land exposed on the other side.

And we collected plants there. Those plants are 6,300 years in age. So if you go back 6,000 years ago, it took 1,600 years for the ice to move from here to here. It's taken 25 years for it to move from here, back to expose those plants. So it's the rate of change that we're really, really concerned about. And I'm gonna take you very quickly around the world. This is not just in the Andes. If you go to Alaska, this is the Muir Glacier, 1941. Same place in 2004, 98% of the glaciers southeast Alaska are retreating in today's world. We've done a lot of work over in Tibet. Very important place, very large area. The one of the largest glacier stores of fresh water with over 46,000 glaciers.

It's sometimes referred to as "Asia's Water Towers." Because the source of many of the major rivers, in this Ganges or Brahmaputra River, are starting glaciers up in the Himalaya's. And so many people are affected by changes in those water supplies. Hard to find old pictures, but this is one from 1921. And you see the mountain peaks here. This is the same place in 2009. So you can see the lakes that have formed. The glaciers that we have studied there, which are now over 7,000, but they're over 46,000. They're retreating. We have histories that go from 1970 to the present. They're retreating more in the Himalaya's and southeastern Tibet, and lesser amounts as you go into the interior. So it's not a uniform retreat across the plateau. If you go to the Alps, you can find very old pictures. This is 1903, and these are all glaciers.

And you can see where they are in 2005. 99% of the glaciers in the Alps are retreating in today's world. Kilimanjaro in Africa, as a place that we drilled in 2000. Here's the earliest photo, 1912. This is where we are in 2006. The first map was made in 1912. And we've continued to compare these maps. And we've continued to have aerial photographs flown. And by 2013, we had lost 88.3% of the ice that was present in 1912. 40% of the ice that was on the mountain, when we drilled there in 2000, has disappeared. One of the things we did on the Furtwangler Glacier you can see here, is we, in the hole that we left when we drilled, we put a stake, all the way to bedrock. And that stake has been measured since we left it there. And if you look at what's happened to it, this is 2012. You can see the top of the stake here.

And then by 2013, the ice is gone. You can no longer go there and recover that history. And out of six places we drilled, two are now gone. And this actually shows the thinning, a measured thinning. And it's about a half a meter a year of ice loss from the top down. This is what Furtwangler looked like in 2013. This was all one glacier in 2000. And as they break up, they expose darker surfaces. More energy is absorbed. You speed up the process. So the last place I wanna take you is to New Guinea. Most people don't know there's a glacier. It's the only glacier between the Himalaya's and the Andes. The oldest photo we could find was taken in 1936. Here's one from 1991, and 2001. These are Landsat images. This is in 1989. The blue areas are ice. 20 years later, this is what is looks like.

A lot of these glaciers have disappeared. When we drilled here in 2010, these are the drill sites. And where a tent sat here for two weeks. It's the only glacier I've ever drilled where it rained everyday on a glacier. If you wanna lose a glacier, you rain on it. And the surface actually lowered 30 centimeters in two weeks. And if you calculate that on a year, that's about seven meters. The ice is only 32 meters thick. And that suggests this glacier's gonna disappear in the next five years. And you can say well this is 2010. So this is what the ice field looked like in 2010. I'm gonna show you an image from 2011, or 2012. And then 2014, just about six months ago. And if you will look at these depressions that are starting to form here. And the height of this wall. You can see that the change in four years that have taken place. So, it'll go to 2012, and you see the size of these holes.

And then you look at it by 2014. So these glaciers will disappear. And those histories will be gone from that part of the world. Our best models, this is from my PCC, with 800 parts per million CO2. We'll have an application of warming at high elevations in the low latitudes because late in the heat release from water vapor. And that's where these glaciers are setting. And that's why we believe they're responding so quickly to these changes. And these changes have impacts on people. This lake form wasn't there when I first went to Quelccaya. Our cap was always here. That lake grew in size. Here is what it looked like in 2006. When we went back in 2007, it was gone. It had drained. And if you go around this ridge to the other side, this is the bottom of the lake, and all the water flowed in the valley below. And it's drowned alpaca. And as the glacier retreated back, it made another exitway to the south. And in the valley to the north, where they used to graze their alpaca, these things are usually covered with water right up to the edge.

And they're bright green, and the alpaca feed on those things. Those have dried up and they're now gone and they no longer engraze in that valley. This is Qori Kalis Glacier in 2005. In March of 2006, there was an avalanche, fell into this lake. You see a pasture here, there's usually alpaca there. And so, when there was an avalanche, you can see there was a mini-tsunami and breached the natural dam, the moraine. And flooded the valleys down below. But the point here is this would not have happened before 1991 because there was no lake in this valley. These are all very recent, recent developments. There's been a lot of recent work on what's happening in Antarctica. Western Antarctica is the only ice sheet that's grounded below sea-level.

The loss of the Pine Island Glacier, the Thwaites Glacier. and we were very concerned about these because of the volume of ice and water in these glaciers. What we have is warm ocean water coming in underneath these ice shelves. Melting the glacier from underneath. So you have this ice shelf decay, ice stream discharge, and the ice sheet decay. It melts away, they thin very rapidly. The problem in West Antarctica is that the ice sheet is grounded below sea-level. And once you leave these pinning lines where these islands that hold it, there's nothing to stop it from collapsing. And the rate of retreat is just been really fascinating. And it should, there's nothing to stop it once you unpin them. So what that does to sea-level remains to be seen.

But there's potential of six meters of sea-level rise just from that one ice sheet. So, if you look cumulative globally, this is what's happening to the glaciers. They're disappearing. If you look at sea-level, you can see that the rate of rise 1870 to 1924, .8 millimeters per year. 1925 to 1992, 1.9 millimeters per year. And from 1993 to 2012, 3.1, and the latest values are 3.3 millimeters per year. And that's exactly what you'd expect if you're melting the ice and the glaciers on land. But sometimes it's hard to look at a chart and see what that means. These are areas on the planet where we're now documented ice loss. So we have recent rapid melting of glaciers. And so we can say climatologically, we are in unfamiliar territory, and the world's ice cover is responding very dramatically.

So if you just take a conservative estimate, and say what if we lost 8% of the ice that's now on land. This is the Gulf Shore and Florida. If you lost 8%, we've lost 25% of the area of ice around the Quelccaya Ice Caps since I was a graduate student. On the big global scale, what would that do to our shoreline? So, here we are at 8% loss. This is what it would look like. So the potential impact, and sea-level is global. And we settled our cities and sailing ships. We have lots of people living at the coastline. So these are a potentially, will have great impacts on human beings and our infrastructure. So it's never any one thing. It's the composite of all evidence. that drives the science community to conclude that the earth is getting warmer.

The loss of Arctic sea ice, increasing temperatures in the air and ocean, increasing humidities, decreasing snow, temperatures rising in the lower atmosphere, glaciers retreating. The ocean's sea surface temperatures are warming. The heat content is increasing. Global sea-level is rising. Air temperatures over land are rising. These are all very consistent stories of a warming of planet. So, I wanna get to the human side of this, because I think this is very important. So, how to manage a world with threats from climate change, rising sea-levels and rising energy consumption. I think this is our biggest challenge in the 21st century. We certainly can make the argument there's "A Perfect Storm" that's brewing. The ingredients are the fact that carbon dioxide has its very long life-span in the atmosphere.

There's an inertia in the climate system. It'll be 20 to 30 years before we see the impacts of what we've already done on the climate system. We have positive amplifying feedback says you remove ice and you increase the absorption on the planet. And we have fossil fuel addiction around the world. We can talk about an alternative world, a brighter world. More renewable energies, cleaner air and water, enhanced economic development, better jobs. And I grew up in West Virginia. And they even invited me back to talk on this issue. because I'm from that area. But the fact is, that most coal miners were employed in 1924. And the maximum coal production in West Virginia was in 2002. Miners were losing jobs because they're being replaced by technology and machines and the like. So I go back and talk to the young people.

If you wanna have a future, you look at the alternative energies. This to me is the growth area for the future. But humans being what we are, it's these extreme events that actually get our attention. And I'm just gonna go very quickly through the last couple of years. In 2011, in Ohio, was the wettest year on record. And we had many floods. These are very expensive when they occur. But this is a global, this is 2011 in Pakistan. And Munich Re, who is one of these companies that insures insurance companies, and distributes the risk globally, actually sees the impacts of these changes. So the overall losses in 2011, were $148 billion, weather related losses, of which $55 billion was actually covered by insurance. The rest was picked up by taxpayers or individuals of those costs. In 2012, we had Superstorm Sandy. And you see "super" in front of typhoons and things now. And they're still trying to recover from this.

It's cost over 60 billion dollars. But some things you don't often note, is that there are 45 superfund toxic waste sites within a half a mile of the coast in New Jersey and New York. And these become at risk when sea-level rises and you have potential higher and higher storm surges coming in. You look at fires in this country. These are record fires. And what again is so compelling is the timing of these. We're talking about areas burning the size of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined. In 2006, 9.8 million acres. 2007, 9.3, 2012, 9.1 million acres. These are tremendous impacts. The flood in 2013 in Boulder, Colorado. It doesn't flood in that part of the world. And most people did not have flood insurance because they haven't needed flood insurance.

And this brings up one of these characteristics of human beings. The fact that the consequences for the individual outweigh consequences for others. If it's your home that's going into the river, then you become very concerned about these changes. This is Super Typhoon Haiyan. The death toll was in the thousands and the damage was over $14 billion. Only about two billion was actually insured in the Philippines. This is a poor part of the world, most people don't have insurance. Then you come to last winter. This is ice and freezing rain in Atlanta, Georgia. Very unusual in this part of the world. But at the same time, if you went to Australia, record temperatures were being set in the summer there. And this is why you always have to look at the global picture. And the floods in England in 2014. The losses were $1.

7 billion. The winter of 2014 was the wettest on record since records began in 1910 in that part of the world. And then you come into this winter. And the snow's at Boston, chances are they're gonna have a record snowfall since they've been keeping records in that part of the world. And the impacts of these are tremendous on infrastructure and people. Last you know, seven feet of snow, I mean it's a lot of snow. So then if you look in California, the drought out there. That's now a 500 year drought. And this is what the drought situation looked like in 2012, 2013 and then last week, and now. And if you look at the snow pack in Sierra Nevada, it's only 1/5 of what it should be at this time of year. So even though they're had some storms there, it has not alleviated that drought. If you look at weather catastrophes around the world from 1980 to 2012, you can see these are storm-related, weather-related catastrophes.

You can see how they're increasing. And if you look at the cost of those, in the last 10 years, that's averaged about 184 billion dollars a year of which $56 billion was covered by insurance. There's a lot of variability from year to year, depending on what storm and where they hit, as to what that actual cost is. But it brings back another human characteristic. Immediate consequences outweigh delayed consequences. When we start seeing these changes and the cost of those changes in the here and now, then the opinion on climate change issues will change. So, looking forward, I think there are three options out there. One of these is mitigation, which means taking measures to reduce the pace and the magnitude of change in global climate that are caused by human activities. And here you can talk about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. You can talk about enhancing the sinks for those emissions, taking them out of the atmosphere. We can actually talk about geoengineering, to counteract the effects of greenhouse gases.

We can talk about adaptation, which means taking measures to reduce the adverse impacts on human well-being that result from climate change that do occur. And examples of adaptation include changing agriculture practices, strengthening defenses against climate-related diseases, building more dams and dikes. But this is a moving target, and we're not very good at regional prediction of changes. Then the last is suffering. This is the adverse impacts that are not avoided by either mitigation or adaptation. And I think these will be the options as we go forward. But there are positive things, and you mentioned at the beginning. And I think this is absolutely true. And I've been really impressed with the changes that are underway. Conservation, increased efficiencies, four-cylinder hybrid cars, electric cars.

We have Tesla. Google's gonna produce an electric car. You have technology will be one of the answers to these changes. Fuel cells, fuel emission, coal burning power plants, solar, geothermal, ethanol, wind-powered plants, mass transits, light-rail systems, buses. Housing design toward more compact cities. Development of nanotechnology, LED technology. But it doesn't mean too much if you just make a list of this. It's what we're actually doing that counts. And I come from Ohio State University. We're one of the largest public universities in the U.S. And we have very strong campaign for sustainability at the university. We have over 70 student organizations that are focusing on sustainability. We're ranked number three by EPA and the 20 largest universities using green-power.

25% of our electricity comes from wind. We have, we recycle in that big stadium where we play football games. The 98.2% of the waste that's generated. We've put 7.1 million dollars into increasing efficiency in conservation infrastructure in our existing buildings. And we have 37 alternative energy buses on campus. We are putting in these electric car charging stations. We hope to recycle 90% of the materials generated on campus by 2030. And in 2012, we planted 916 trees on the campus. So, it's what we do. And the thing that I'm really encouraged about is this is something that's coming from the bottom up. It's not coming from the top down. And I think this is the way the change will come. Now, I wanna tell a personal story that happened in 2011. And I think I understand skeptics much better after this. 20 years ago, I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma.

And as I climbed these mountains I noticed it was getting harder and harder. But, the beauty was there was a medicine for that. And you could take that and you could continue to do what you were doing. And in 2009, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. And my cardiologist, at Ohio State, he said, "Lonnie, this is what's gonna happen." He said, "You're on the threshold. "You're gonna drop to another threshold. "But out here in the future, "you're gonna have to have a heart transplant." And I looked at him and said, "You're crazy. "I have climbed the highest mountains "in the world. "This old heart works pretty well. "And you're gonna tell me "that I have to get a heart transplant?" So, I have fought this for two years. And I was on this drill site in 2011, and I couldn't breath to get from the tent to the drill site. And when I got back home, I went directly to the emergency room. I was on a heart pump.

Then put in an LVAD. An LVAD is a turbine they put in your old heart that it runs on electricity. You have batteries you run in the day, and at night you plug into the wall. And it really gives you a new meaning of sustainable power. (audience laughs) And this was in April of 2012, Ellen and I received the Franklin Medal for Science, the Environmental Science. To go there, I had to go off the transplant list 'cause you can't be more than two hours from the hospital, if you're on the list. But this was gonna take four days to go up. And so they took me off the list. I came back on a Saturday, and on Tuesday I got the call that they had found a match. And I went in, in the morning, and by the next day, I had a new heart. And then, one year later, I was back at 20,000 feet on the Zangser Glacier in Central Tibet. Now the reason I tell this story, is that if you think about the climate change issues.

We, there are a lot of people who, ya know, we've been producing fossil fuels for a hundred years. And we've been, and a lot of people are making money from this. And there's infrastructure and investments. And then when suddenly this, we realize that this is harming the environment, and we're changing the climate on the planet, our first reaction as human beings is to deny it. But I think at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter what I think, or you think. It's only what is, and what is, it's a matter of physics and chemistry. And at the end of the day, we will deal with it, because we'll have no choice. So, when I look at the 21st century, I think our biggest challenge is our learning how to get along with each other on this planet. And you can question how well we do that, today or even in the past. But the other part is learning how to get along with the planet. on which we depend for our life and our quality of life. And these two challenges deal with human behavior. And therefore, they're very closely related.

So, let me close with this view of the world. If we've learned anything from our International Space Program, it's how special this planet is for life as we know it. And when it comes to global climate change, nature's really the timekeeper on that. And none of us are wise enough to know how much time we have to make a change. But we do have good evidence that, that clock is ticking. And we need to get on with bringing about these changes. And so I wanna conclude with this and I would like to, I have a very short 16 minute video, just was produced. And it's by Ethan Steinman. And it's about people who live in the Andes. And I'm just gonna show you a very small section from Peru. But it's very important to understand that we share this planet with a lot of other people whose lives are also impacted by these changes. (applause) – [Voiceover] Okay, thank you Lonnie. You've done a really great job of sharing your personal research and what it's meant to the climate record, And giving us some very powerful images and information about how rapidly climate is changing in the last couple of decades, and accelerating.

And also, putting a human face on this climate change. And it certainly sets a great tone for this meeting. I think this meeting is all about those conversations that take place around us. I think we're, it's been a long time here, but we certainly wanna entertain. I'm sure there's lots of questions. So, we're gonna take five minutes or so for questions. And then people can come up maybe afterwards and ask any more. So, yes. – [Voiceover] In your presentation, you showed the map of the sea where if would be at the current level of carbon dioxide, a few million years ago, planets So, we're at that level now CO2. Under what conditions will we then see that 72 foot sea level rise. Would it just take time or would it stop at 400? – It takes time, I mean these smaller glaciers in the mountains, they respond first to change. They're not that big. But you talk about a Greenland ice sheet, or Antarctic ice sheet. It takes a long time to warm them up. Get them moving, and to see the change taking place. So every glacier, depending on its size and its thickness, has a different response time to these changes.

But, because they're so big, once you get them moving, it's very difficult to reverse that trend. Yeah, it's an important question. – Other questions? – [Voiceover] Thank you for a brilliant presentation. So, I'm a city councilman here. My name's Jim, and three years ago, four years ago, when I was running for office, I was talking to a local developer. And I expressed to him my concern about climate change. He basically said, I don't have time to think about climate change. And besides, I don't trust anything coming from the federal government. (audience laughs) So, one of the things that makes me think about is how developers and others, who are really focused on how operating successful in your market economy. do not face, they don't see prices that reflect the consequences of burning CO2. It's the biggest negative externality there is in markets. So I'm wondering about them.

You really didn't mention the market economy, or a deeper level capitalism. You didn't mention that about how it's a real primary driver in terms of the production and use of fossil fuels, etc. And taking us down this road. So, I'm wondering what you think about what needs to be done in terms of affecting markets so that the developer and others like him that I talk to, will actually adapt change in their behavior to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions? – I think it's a very important question. And I have issues with market-based economies. I mean we see this now in universities. And you know, what happens is in a market-based economy, is that things that can make money, prosper. And things that don't make money, don't. And there are a lot of very important things about human history that we need to know, that need to be supported. And the people that do those type of research need to be supported. But when you look at, look at the marketplace. I mean, it's the real cost, understanding the cost Ya know, if you're a developer and you lose your development because an extreme event.

When these things, ya know, when these, extreme things happen, and then you spent your life working for, ya know, making this profit and growing. And in 15 seconds, couple hours, it's all gone. Then you're, you're view of the world actually changes. And as we have more and more of these extreme events, more and more people get impacted. And yeah, they question, yeah is this a sound way to move forward. I mean, I showed that we have 7.3 billion people on the planet. But, and that's growing. But consumption, consumerism is growing 10 times faster than that. As new countries come online, and can we sustain that? I mean, is there, I think we need to start thinking about sustainability. How do you have a good lifestyle and you maintain it for the maximum number of people on this planet? If you ever, If you're ever in a hospital bed and you're on this edge between life and death, what you realize is all the resources, all the money, anything you've accumulated in this life, really doesn't matter.

What really matters are your family, your friends and your colleagues. And the difference that you were able to make in the lives of people in the life that you led. And the rest of it, to me, is, ya know, I think our value system needs to be adjusted. What's important? – I think that's a good point to maybe think forward from this lecture today. And I think the other thing we can think about is that a lot of you have done is Lonnie you've done a really great job of informing us and powering us. And I think, keep this in mind, I was pretty special. You know, we're gonna have a whole bunch of people tromping through this state wanting to be president of this country. And wanting our votes. And I think this is one of those questions that we can be asking. Are they informed? Where do they stand? Where we can help asking them those questions. It can help shape our opinions. is we can carry that forward. And it's probably a good time, and a nice elevation to stop.

And I don't know if there's any other. We're gonna thank you. But are there anything else to say? So there's the information that's important for the reception. But again, let's give Lonnie a round of applause. (applause).

Venus: Death of a Planet

From the fires of a sun’s birth, twin planets emerged. Venus and Earth. Two roads diverged in our young solar system. Nature draped one world in the greens and blues of life. While enveloping the other in acid clouds, high heat, and volcanic flows. Why did Venus take such a disastrous turn? And what light can Earth’s sister planet shed on the search for other worlds like our own? For as long as we have gazed upon the stars, they have offered few signs that somewhere out there are worlds as rich and diverse as our own. Recently, though, astronomers have found ways to see into the bright lights of nearby stars. They’ve been discovering planets at a rapid clip, using orbiting observatories like NASA’s Kepler space telescope, and an array of ground-based instruments. The count is almost a thousand and rising. These alien worlds run the gamut, from great gas giants many times the size of our Jupiter, to rocky, charred remnants that burned when their parent star exploded. Some have wild elliptical orbits, swinging far out into space, then diving into scorching stellar winds.

Still others orbit so close to their parent stars that their surfaces are likely bathed in molten rock. Amid these hostile realms, a few bear tantalizing hints of water or ice, ingredients needed to nurture life as we know it. The race to find other Earths has raised anew the ancient question, whether, out in the folds of our galaxy, planets like our own are abundant, and life commonplace? Or whether Earth is a rare Garden of Eden in a barren universe? With so little direct evidence of these other worlds to go on, we have only the stories of planets within our own solar system to gauge the chances of finding another Earth. Consider, for example, a world that has long had the look and feel of a life-bearing planet. Except for the moon, there’s no brighter light in our night skies than the planet Venus, known as both the morning and the evening star. The ancient Romans named it for their goddess of beauty and love. In time, the master painters transformed this classical symbol into an erotic figure, then a courtesan.

It was a scientist, Galileo Galilei, who demystified planet Venus, charting its phases as it moved around the sun, drawing it into the ranks of the other planets. With a similar size and weight, Venus became known as Earth’s sister planet. But how Earth-like is it? The Russian scientist Mikkhail Lomonosov caught a tantalizing hint in 1761. As Venus passed in front of the Sun, he witnessed a hair thin luminescence on its edge. Venus, he found, has an atmosphere. Later observations revealed a thick layer of clouds. Astronomers imagined they were made of water vapor, like those on Earth. Did they obscure stormy, wet conditions below? And did anyone, or anything, live there? The answer came aboard an unlikely messenger, an asteroid that crashed into Earth.

That is, according to the classic sci-fi adventure, “The First Spaceship on Venus.“ A mysterious computer disk is found among the rubble. With anticipation rising on Earth, an international crew sets off to find out who sent it, and why. What they find is a treacherous, toxic world. No wonder the Venusians want to switch planets. It was now time to get serious about exploring our sister planet. NASA sent Mariner 2 to Venus in 1962, in the first-ever close planetary encounter. Its instruments showed that Venus is nothing at all like Earth. Rather, it’s extremely hot, with an atmosphere made up mostly of carbon dioxide. The data showed that Venus rotates very slowly, only once every 243 Earth days, and it goes in the opposite direction. American and Soviet scientists found out just how strange Venus is when they sent a series of landers down to take direct readings. Surface temperatures are almost 900 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt lead, with the air pressure 90 times higher than at sea level on Earth.

The air is so thick that it’s not a gas, but a “supercritical fluid.” Liquid CO2. On our planet, the only naturally occurring source is in the high-temperature, high-pressure environments of undersea volcanoes. The Soviet Venera landers sent back pictures showing that Venus is a vast garden of rock, with no water in sight. In fact, if you were to smooth out the surface of Venus, all the water in the atmosphere would be just 3 centimeters deep. Compare that to Earth, where the oceans would form a layer 3 kilometers deep. If you could land on Venus, you’d be treated to tranquil vistas and sunset skies, painted in orange hues. The winds are light, only a few miles per hour, but the air is so thick that a breeze would knock you over. Look up and you’d see fast-moving clouds, streaking around the planet at 300 kilometers per hour. These clouds form a dense high-altitude layer, from 45 to 66 kilometers above the surface. The clouds are so dense and reflective that Venus absorbs much less solar energy than Earth, even though it’s 30% closer to the Sun. These clouds curve around into a pair of immense planetary hurricanes as the air spirals down into the cooler polar regions.

Along the equator, they rise in powerful storms, unleashing bolts of lightning. Just like earth, these storms produce rain, only it’s acid rain that evaporates before it hits the ground. At higher elevations, a fine mist forms, not of water but of the rare metal tellurium, and iron pyrites, known as fool’s gold. It can form a metallic frost, like snowflakes in hell. Scientists have identified around 1700 major volcanic centers on Venus ranging from lava domes, and strange features called arachnoids or coronae, to giant volcanic summits. The planet is peppered with volcanoes, perhaps in the millions, distributed randomly on its surface. Venus is run through with huge cuts thousands of kilometers long that may well be lava channels. Our sister planet is a volcanic paradise, in a solar system shaped by volcanism. The largest mountain on Earth, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano, measures 32,000 feet from sea floor to summit.

Rising almost three times higher is the mother of all volcanoes: Olympus Mons on Mars. Jupiter’s moon Io, is bleeding lava. It’s produced deep underground by the friction of rock on rock, caused by the gravitational pull of its mother planet. Then there’s Neptune’s moon Triton, with crystals of nitrogen ice shooting some 10 kilometers above the surface. Saturn’s moon Titan, with frozen liquid methane and ammonia oozing into lakes and swamps. On our planet, volcanoes commonly form at the margins of continents and oceans. Here, the vast slabs of rock that underlie the oceans push beneath those that bear the continents. Deep underground, magma mixes with water, and the rising pressure forces it up in explosive eruptions. On Venus, the scene is very different. In the high-density atmosphere, volcanoes are more likely to ooze and splatter, sending rivers of lava flowing down onto the lowlands. They resemble volcanoes that form at hot spots like the Hawaiian islands.

There, plumes of magma rise up from deep within the earth, releasing the pressure in a stream of eruptions. To see a typical large volcano on Venus, go to Sappas Mons, at 400 kilometers across and 1.5 kilometers high. The mountain was likely built through eruptions at its summit. But as magma reached up from below, it began to drain out through subsurface tubes or cracks that formed a web of channels leading onto the surrounding terrain. Is Venus, like Earth, still volcanically active? Finding the answer is a major goal of the Venus Express mission, launched in 2005 by the European Space Agency. Armed with a new generation of high-tech sensors, it peered through the clouds. Recording the infrared light given off by several large mountains, it found that the summits are brighter than the surrounding basins. That’s probably because they had not been subject to as much weathering in this corrosive environment.

This means that they would have erupted sometime within the last few hundred thousand years. If these volcanoes are active now, it’s because they are part of a deeper process that shapes our planet as well. On Earth, the release of heat from radioactive decay deep in its mantle is what drives the motion of oceanic and continental plates. It’s dependent on erosion and other processes associated with water. With no water on Venus, the planet’s internal heat builds to extreme levels, then escapes in outbreaks of volcanism that may be global in scope. This may explain why fewer than a thousand impact craters have been found on Venus. Anything older than about 500 million years has literally been paved over. So why did Venus diverge so radically from Earth when it was born in same solar system and under similar circumstances? There is growing evidence, still circumstantial, that Venus may in fact have had a wetter, more Earth-like past.

One of the most startling findings of the early Venus missions was the presence of deuterium, a form of hydrogen, in Venus’ upper atmosphere. It forms when ultraviolet sunlight breaks apart water molecules. Additional evidence recently came to light. Venus Express trained its infrared sensors on the planet’s night side, to look at how the terrain emits the energy captured in the heat of the day. This picture is a composite of over a thousand individual images of Venus’ southern hemisphere. Higher elevation areas, shown in blue, emit less heat than the surrounding basins. That supports a hypothesis that these areas are made not of lava, but of granite. On Earth, granite forms in volcanoes when magma mixes with water. If there’s granite on Venus, then there may well have been water. If Earth and Venus emerged together as twin blue marbles, then at some point, the two worlds parted company.

Earth developed ways to moderate its climate, in part by removing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from its atmos phere. Plants, for one, absorb CO2 and release oxygen in photosynthesis. One square kilometer of tropical jungle, for example, can take in several hundred tons of co2 in just a year. That’s nothing compared to the oceans. In a year’s time, according to one recent study, just one square kilometer of ocean can absorb 41 million tons of CO2. Earth takes in its own share of CO2. When rainfall interacts with rocks, a chemical reaction known as “weathering” converts atmospheric CO2 to carbonate compounds. Runoff from the land washes it into rivers and the seas, where they settle into ocean sediments. With little water and no oceans, Venus has no good way to remove CO2 from its atmosphere. Instead, with volcanic eruptions adding more and more CO2 to the atmosphere, it has trapped more and more of the sun’s heat in a runaway greenhouse effect. Venus is so hot that liquid water simply cannot survive on the surface. Nor, it seems, can it last in the upper atmosphere.

The culprit is the Sun. The outer reaches of its atmosphere, the corona, is made up of plasma heated to over a million degrees Celsius. From this region, the sun sends a steady stream of charged particles racing out into the solar system. The solar wind reaches its peak in the wake of great looping eruptions on the surface of the Sun, called coronal mass ejections. The blast wave sweeps by Venus, then heads out toward Earth. Our planet is fortified against the solar blast. Plumes of hot magma rise and fall in Earth’s core as it spins, generating a magnetic field that extends far out into space. It acts as a shield, deflecting the solar wind and causing it to flow past. It’s this protective bubble that Venus lacks. Venus Express found that these solar winds are steadily stripping off lighter molecules of hydrogen and oxygen.

They escape the planet on the night side, then ride solar breezes on out into space. All this may be due to Venus’ size, 80% that of Earth. This prevents the formation of a solid iron core, and with it the rising and falling plumes that generate a strong magnetic field. There may be another reason too, according to a theory about the planet’s early years. A young planet Venus encountered one or more planet-sized objects, in violent collisions. The force of these impacts slowed its rotation to a crawl, and reversed it, reducing the chances that a magnetic field could take hold. This theory may have a surprising bearing on Earth’s own history. Scientists believe the sun was not always as hot as it is. In fact, going back several billion years, it was cool enough that Earth should have been frozen over. Because it was not, this is known as the faint young sun paradox. Earth’s salvation may well be linked to Venus’ fate.

The idea is that the Earth occupied an orbit closer to the Sun, allowing it to capture more heat. The gravity of two smaller planets with unstable orbits would have gradually pushed it out to its present orbit. The pair would eventually come together, merging to form the Venus we know. As dead as Venus is today, it has brought surprising dividends in the search for life. On its recent crossing between Earth and the Sun, astronomers were out in force. In remote locations where the viewing was optimal, such as the Svalbard islands north of Norway. The data gathered here would be added to that collected by solar telescopes on the ground and in space. To object for most was to experience a spectacle that will not occur again till the year 2117. It was also to capture sunlight passing through Venus’ atmosphere.

Today, the Kepler Space Telescope is searching for planets around distant stars by detecting dips in their light as a planet passes in front. Telescopes in the future may be able to analyze the light of the planet itself. If elements such as carbon or oxygen are detected, then these worlds may well be “Earth-like.” Venus provides a benchmark, and some valuable perspective. So what can we glean from the evolution of planet Venus? As we continue to scan the cosmic horizons, the story of Venus will stand as a stark reminder. It takes more than just the right size, composition, and distance from the parent star, for a planet to become truly Earth-like. No matter how promising a planet may be, there are myriad forces out there that can radically alter its course. For here was a world, Venus, poised perhaps on the brink of a glorious future.

But bad luck passed its way. Now, we can only imagine what might have become of Earth’s sister planet? 8.