Guest post - Picking on Denmark - Granite Grok

Guest post – Picking on Denmark

By Eddie

Forward: I have known “Eddie” for a couple of decades and when we consultants were at the same customer in implementing our company’s software, we used to have long discussions on culture and politics – and we always disagreed.  That said, Eddie is a reasonable guy and when we talked last week and I mentioned the ‘Grok, his response was “I’ve always wanted to do something like that”.  So, here’s his chance.  Comment per usual – just be yourselves, folks!

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Arctic Sea Ice Volume Anomaly

Intro – I’m making my foray into the blog-sphere as an outlet to discuss issues of interest to me. I believe in the values of our founding fathers and their support of individual freedom. I believe that if Americans wish to have freedom for themselves they must be willing to give freedom to their neighbors. My favorite President is Thomas Jefferson.
I believe in getting to the truth of the matter which is rarely a simple thing. Facts and logic are my friends, lies are my enemies.
Oh, and I guess I need to say that I’m a misfit in the GraniteGrok world as I tend to the liberal side of debates. I hope not to upset anyone….. well, maybe a little.

Picking on Denmark

Steve Mac Donald’s post on Denmark’s arctic studies were a bit misleading and hey, I like Denmark so let’s not pick on them, ok? 

Did Denmark become the foremost expert on Arctic ice recently? Well they do have the cred. Greenland is Danish after all, so they should know something about ice since they have more of it than any other country. Steve’s post would have you believe that global warming is a hoax and that Denmark is breaking its bank on energy costs. So, here is a peeve of mine. Arguing facts. Facts are facts no matter what I think or Steve thinks and the very act of arguing a fact gives credibility to the ‘alternate’ fact. The notion of human induced climate change has moved beyond opinion into accepted theory (ie fact). Based on what we know, human induced global warming is expected. It would be truly surprising and inexplicable if it weren’t happening.

Expected? Yes, expected. Gasoline burning automobiles as well as coal fired power plants emit carbon dioxide (CO2). As expected the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased as humans began burning stuff. The more stuff we burn, the more CO2 is collected in the air we breathe. There are other natural processes that consume CO2 and others that spew it out but that’s a topic for your science class. However, burning stuff on a global industrial scale is somewhat recent. The half million years or so prior to 1900 saw CO2 levels fluctuate between 150 and 300 parts per million. In the 1900’s levels crossed the 300ppm threshold. In the last few years, it has topped 400ppm. Quite a jump. Ok, so what. There’s more CO2, what’s the big deal? CO2 is one of many gases that absorbs radiation in the infrared range at a few specific wavelengths. Nitrogen (N?) and Oxygen (O?) do not. Sunlight strikes the earth and in turn emits infrared radiation. CO2 (and other ‘greenhouse’ gases) absorb some of this radiation and convert that to heat. So, unless the heat absorbed by the additional CO2 goes the way of Hilary’s e-mails, an overall warming of the earth is expected.

So, what about the sea ice? Steve chose a very narrow time period and did not put it in context nor did he provide other ice-related data, but even what was provided did not suggest that global warming was a hoax. The Danish study agreed with information shown at the national sea ice data center. Ice volume, to date has increased in 2018 relative to the previous few years, but it is still close to record low levels. Sea ice extent (area covered in ice) in the north pole is at a record low according to NSIDC. When looking at the trend since 1980 the picture is very clear as shown in the chart below, thanks to the Polar Science Center. Viewing polar ice trends whether it is ice volume which is up a little from record lows to ice extent which is at record low does not support the notion of a hoax on the global warming front. In fact it is strong evidence supporting global warming predictions.

This could be a liberal plot, right? A global hoax perpetrated by Democrats and every other nation on the planet designed to destroy America? But, it is not liberal politicians doing scientific studies. It is scientists. I have seen no evidence that they are perpetrating a hoax or that their studies are for liberal political gain any more than e=mc² is a Republican hoax. These scientists are sponsored by government organizations such as NOAA and NASA. Their findings have not altered between administrations as they are not political opinions. I know this is New Hampshire where government is always a source of suspicion, so let’s look elsewhere. There is another liberal anti-oil organization that came to the same conclusion back in the 1970’s. Their scientists continue to publish and as the organization has repeatedly stated, been completely in line with other scientists. That liberal, anti-oil organization is Exxon-Mobil. A conspiracy against oil companies that is so far reaching that even oil companies are part of it!

Steve gives an explanation for Democrats perpetrating this hoax. To satisfy their donors. Is this something only companies like Tesla would do but Koch industries would not possibly engage in? While it is obvious to me that some politicians are disingenuous on the topic of global warming, why would anyone listen to politicians for science information, even if it was Al Gore? As Republicans are fond of saying: “I’m not a scientist.” Great, then I’ll listen to someone who is. As far as I can tell, it is only politicians and only those in one party who are suggesting that global warming doesn’t exist. Steve got the motive right, just got the party wrong.

Let’s get back to the poor Danes and their energy bills. It is true that the typical household in Denmark has higher electricity bills per kwh than anywhere in Europe at about .30 eur/kwh. But that’s not the complete picture. Industry pays approximately .08 eur/kwh in Denmark which is amongst the cheapest in Europe. So, why the disparity? 59% of household energy costs are in the form of taxes according to the Danish Energy Agency. Some of that is used for PSO (Public Service Obligation) which is used to re-invest in renewable energy, but that is only 7% of the total or about .021 eur/kwh. The rest are Danish taxes presumably to help fund their welfare programs.

A fair discussion on the topic of how to address the issue of global warming and its costs are far more productive than discussing whether we should bury our head in the sand until the ocean comes up around our ankles and drowns us. Taxpayers globally do much to subsidize the oil industry and also pay for the consequences of global warming which has to be considered as part of the cost. If Libertarians and Republicans would stand up for their stated values of personal responsibility we might be in a better place to solve this very real problem.