Earth Day: Pinterest will help heal our planet?

Happy Earth Day, especially to those who live in single-family houses and drive SUVs!

This would be a great day to post a photo of your pavement-melting Ford Bronco to Pinterest, which will happily collect ad revenue from photographs of lavish consumption that burns the Earth’s resources. What can’t you post? “Pinterest announces ban on all climate misinformation” (Guardian, 4/6/2022):

Pinterest is to block all climate misinformation, as the image-focused social network seeks to limit the spread of false and misleading claims.

Under the new policy the site is committing to take down content that distorts or denies the facts of the climate crisis, whether posted as adverts or normal “organic” content.

Pinterest is defining misinformation broadly: the company will take down content that denies the existence or effects of climate change or its human causes, as well as content that “misrepresents scientific data” in order to erode trust in climate science and harmful, false or misleading content about natural disasters and extreme weather events.

Would it be possible to thrive on Pinterest posting photos of a soft-on-the-Earth lifestyle? Would there be a lot of users and ad revenue if a person posted pictures of his/her/zir/their one-bedroom apartment, 5-year-old bicycle, and donation of all surplus income to a tree-planting enterprise? The first result that I stumbled on after searching for “home” on Pinterest is 6,200 square feet:

A lot of what drives people to consume more is envy and shame-avoidance, right? If Pinterest wants to help the Earth, wouldn’t the correct course of action be shutting down Pinterest so that people would be more likely to be happy with what they already have?

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Did we ever figure out whether corn-based ethanol is good or bad for our beloved planet?

Kicking off a new Doublethink category for this blog…. “Biden will allow summertime sales of higher-ethanol gas as prices remain elevated.” (NYT):

Gasoline that contains ethanol reduces pollution, as indicated by the “Cleaner Air for Iowa” sticker (not to be confused with an “I did that” Joe Biden sticker, which can lead to being arrested).

The text of the article, however, says that gasoline that contains ethanol increases pollution:

Ethanol is made from corn and other crops and has been mixed into some types of gasoline for years as a way to reduce reliance on oil. But the blend’s higher volatility can contribute to smog in warmer weather. For that reason, environmental groups have traditionally objected to lifting the summertime ban…

Oil refiners are required to blend some ethanol into gasoline under a pair of laws, passed in 2005 and 2007, intended to lower the use of oil and the creation of greenhouse gases by mandating increased levels of ethanol in the nation’s fuel mix every year. However, since passage of the 2007 law, the mandate has been met with criticism that it has contributed to increased fuel prices and has done little to lower greenhouse gas pollution.

Perhaps the contradiction is only an apparent one in that the ethanol blend will reduce pollution in colder weather.

This reminded me to wonder if anyone has ever figured out definitively whether this 17-year-old policy helps or harms Planet Earth. Consider “U.S. corn-based ethanol worse for the climate than gasoline, study finds” (Reuters, February 14, 2022):

Corn-based ethanol, which for years has been mixed in huge quantities into gasoline sold at U.S. pumps, is likely a much bigger contributor to global warming than straight gasoline, according to a study published Monday.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, contradicts previous research commissioned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) showing ethanol and other biofuels to be relatively green.

The research, which was funded in part by the National Wildlife Federation and U.S. Department of Energy, found that ethanol is likely at least 24% more carbon-intensive than gasoline due to emissions resulting from land use changes to grow corn, along with processing and combustion.

Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a law enacted in 2005, the nation’s oil refiners are required to mix some 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol into the nation’s gasoline annually. The policy was intended to reduce emissions, support farmers, and cut U.S. dependence on energy imports.

As a result of the mandate, corn cultivation grew 8.7% and expanded into 6.9 million additional acres of land between 2008 and 2016, the study found. That led to widespread changes in land use, including the tilling of cropland that would otherwise have been retired or enrolled in conservation programs and the planting of existing cropland with more corn, the study found.

Tilling fields releases carbon stored in soil, while other farming activities, like applying nitrogen fertilizers, also produce emissions.

A 2019 study from the USDA, which has been broadly cited by the biofuel industry, found that ethanol’s carbon intensity was 39% lower than gasoline, in part because of carbon sequestration associated with planting new cropland.

We have Scientific Certainty (TM) on all subjects related to COVID, e.g., the effectiveness of ordering schoolchildren to wear masks, the ability of vaccines to end the global pandemic (just one more shot for all of us and SARS-CoV-2 will be gone!), and the need to require incoming travelers from zero-COVID China to produce a negative test while the undocumented may stream over the southern border and stay indefinitely with no testing or vaccination prerequisite. The question of whether growing more corn to burn in our pavement-melting SUVs increases or decreases CO2 emissions should be a comparatively simple one and yet Science cannot agree with him/her/zir/theirself.

Readers: What do we think? Do we go with the obvious “corn-based ethanol is bad”? Or are we convinced by the USDA??

Separately, for California readers, a couple of photos from Sunday, April 10 at Florida’s Turnpike Exit 152:


  • Factory farms may be killing coral reefs, not a warming planet (fertilizer dumped on corn fields eventually finds its way into the ocean)
  • Book that explores the biggest issue of our age: About 40 percent of the fertilizer applied in the last sixty years wasn’t assimilated by plants; instead, it washed away into rivers or seeped into the air in the form of nitrous oxide. Fertilizer flushed into rivers, lakes, and oceans is still fertilizer: it boosts the growth of algae, weeds, and other aquatic organisms. When these die, they rain to the ocean floor, where they are consumed by microbes. So rapidly do the microbes grow on the increased food supply that their respiration drains the oxygen from the lower depths, killing off most life. Where agricultural runoff flows, dead zones flourish. Nitrogen from Middle Western farms flows down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico every summer, creating an oxygen desert that in 2016 covered almost 7,000 square miles.
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Does it make sense to have a “Climate Pledge” stadium hosting regular gatherings of 19,000 people?

Despite my passion for Climate Science, I hadn’t noticed that Seattle is now the home of the “Climate Pledge Arena,” a sports stadium seating over 18,000 people (so, including workers, that would be a gathering of up to 19,000 for every sold-out game). Amazon bought the naming rights, but decided that it should be called “Climate Pledge” rather than “Amazon Prime” or “EC2 and S3”.

I’m wondering if this name makes sense given that it is tough to think of anything more destructive to our beloved Mother Earth than a sports stadium. $1.15 billion was spent on renovating the stadium, which means $1.15 billion that wasn’t spent on planting climate-healing trees. A huge quantity of concrete was no doubt used and the cement industry emits roughly 8 percent of world’s CO2 pollution (BBC). Every time an event occurs at this stadium, thousands of people drive their gas-guzzling, CO2-spewing vehicles to and from the Climate Pledge Arena, a practice that is explicitly encouraged by the Climate Pledgers: “Parking is available at every price point for every budget.” says .

Fans from the “away” team will often fly in from hundreds or thousands of miles away, generating additional CO2 in the process. (But also “live music” according to Google Maps; see below.)

Americans were willing to #StayHomeSaveLives for two years. Shouldn’t Americans be willing to #StayHomeSaveMotherEarth and watch sporting events on TV, thus reducing by at least 90 percent the number of car trips for each event?

Note that climate pledging is not the only important cause in Seattle. Here are some photos from an August 2019 trip:

The above photos were included in Is LGBTQIA the most popular social justice cause because it does not require giving money?

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Even with COVID-19 anxiety, there is always room for climate anxiety

For readers who demand to know why I continue to pay for a NYT subscription… “Climate Change Enters the Therapy Room” (NYT, today):

Ten years ago, psychologists proposed that a wide range of people would suffer anxiety and grief over climate. Skepticism about that idea is gone.

It would hit Alina Black in the snack aisle at Trader Joe’s, a wave of guilt and shame that made her skin crawl.

Something as simple as nuts. They came wrapped in plastic, often in layers of it, that she imagined leaving her house and traveling to a landfill, where it would remain through her lifetime and the lifetime of her children.

She longed, really longed, to make less of a mark on the earth. But she had also had a baby in diapers, and a full-time job, and a 5-year-old who wanted snacks. At the age of 37, these conflicting forces were slowly closing on her, like a set of jaws.

In the early-morning hours, after nursing the baby, she would slip down a rabbit hole, scrolling through news reports of droughts, fires, mass extinction. Then she would stare into the dark.

It was for this reason that, around six months ago, she searched “climate anxiety” and pulled up the name of Thomas J. Doherty, a Portland psychologist who specializes in climate.

Eco-anxiety, a concept introduced by young activists, has entered a mainstream vocabulary. And professional organizations are hurrying to catch up, exploring approaches to treating anxiety that is both existential and, many would argue, rational.

Though there is little empirical data on effective treatments, the field is expanding swiftly.

Caroline Wiese, 18, described her previous therapist as “a typical New Yorker who likes to follow politics and would read The New York Times, but also really didn’t know what a Keeling Curve was,” referring to the daily record of carbon dioxide concentration.

Ms. Wiese had little interest in “Freudian B.S.” She sought out Dr. Doherty for help with a concrete problem: The data she was reading was sending her into “multiday panic episodes” that interfered with her schoolwork.

Note that both patient and therapist are described as living in Portland, Oregon, but they met via videoconference.

I’m still confused how people who are convinced that 50 percent of humanity will die due to climate change can simultaneously be concerned that COVID-19 will kill up to 1 percent of humanity. (Also, the folks convinced that climate change is an existential threat tend to also be passionate supporters of unlimited migration from low-carbon-output societies to high-carbon-output societies. It is tough to think of a better way to accelerate climate doom than bringing millions of people from low-income countries to the carbon-profligate U.S.)

If you’re anxious about climate change and need a decent place to relax for the next few years, consider William Jennings Bryan’s old house in Miami. It will soon be inundated by the rising sea and can be yours for $150 million. From the preceding link, “sitting directly on the water” is a selling point.

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The Science in the movie Don’t Look Up

Don’t Look Up is a cautionary tale of what could happen if Trump-supporters were a majority in the U.S. It is an update, to some extent of the 2006 film Idiocracy, whose underlying message is that Nobel-winning transistor developer William Shockley was correct, i.e., that America’s destiny is a nation of low-skill people because means-tested welfare programs enable higher fertility for no-income and low-income Americans compared to middle-income Americans (Idiocracy did not cover low-skill immigration, but presumably it can be viewed as an argument against it). Fertility versus household income:

Don’t Look Up doesn’t address how Americans became stupid enough to vote for a Trump-like president, but reminds us of the terrible costs of denying Science (capitalized like “God”) and not trusting Scientists. The entire movie is a not-very-subtle mocking of the Trumpkins for their stupidity in not believing “the Science”.

Here’s a sample tweet from the writer/director, whose brief Twitter profile includes the phrase “Climate Emergency is NOW“.

Related Facebook posts from my friends who vote for Democrats:

  • It’s the most useful movie, because now you can explain how tech works, and journalism and politics, etc.
  • The movie is sexy and true. Yes, we had everything, and we blew it — in the movie and in real life. It’s a critique of our response to climate change, and Covid, and even has a dig at Trump (the president’s chief of staff played by Jonah Hill is her son)
  • … it’s [arguably] both the greatest and the most important movie ever made.

If this were a Michael Bay movie, it would make sense to ignore anything incompatible with Physics 101 under the rubric of “artistic license”. But Don’t Look Up is a political statement, not a work of art, and it is specifically about what could happen if don’t deport and/or suppress those who refuse to follow the science.

The Science delivered by this climate change expert-turned-screenwriter starts with a female-identifying astronomer finding a new comet from the Oort cloud. The movie is somewhat, um, retrograde in that she does not explicitly identify as “of color” or 2SLGBTQQIA+. She reports her observation to a male-identifying astronomy professor, played by climate change activist Leo DeCaprio. Within a day, he has calculated that the comet will strike the Earth in 6 months. The rest of the movie explores what would happen if the morons who deny the settled climate change models (and/or assume that some improved tech for dealing with climate change will be developed within the next 100 years, e.g., a solar-powered carbon vacuum) were also to deny orbital mechanics.

How does this compare to lowercase pre-2019 “science”? A 2014 article from the European Space Agency:

In movies about the impending end of the world due to a comet impact, one thing is certain: Detecting the comet and computing its orbit are dead easy. … Computer programs are started, and people frantically hack away at keyboards. In no time at all, they will have identified the fuzzy blob as a comet that is hurtling in from the frozen recesses of space. What’s more, in no time at all, they will have determined the comet’s trajectory and they can categorically state that it will hit Earth. A few more frantic calculations and they also know the date and time of impact – Quick, call Bruce Willis!

In actual fact, one single picture of a comet is just that: a single picture of a comet. … From one picture, you can’t tell where it’s heading; you don’t know how close it will get to the Sun, nor if or when a close encounter with any other planet is due. To find out these things, you need more observations – many more of images that were taken at different dates, ideally spanning a long time frame. … So you have to make an educated guess at the parameters that describe the comet’s trajectory, also known – unsurprisingly – as its ‘orbital parameters’. This initial guess (as even the mathematicians rather candidly refer to it) in all likelihood will be quite far off.

This procedure is known as ‘orbit determination’. It is very time-consuming and involves a lot of complicated and repetitive mathematical calculations, which is why nowadays we let a computer handle most of it. The entire process is known as ‘parametric optimisation’ and each step is referred to as an ‘iteration’. As the optimisation process goes on and many iterations have been performed, you will see that for the epochs at which the images were taken, the computed locations, based on the current estimate of the orbital parameters, will move quite close to what you can see in the actual images.

The article includes a chart showing that it took 450 days to determine the orbit for a 2013 comet:

Regarding the above chart:

In the diagram above, it took almost 200 days to find out that comet Siding Spring would not hit Mars. At that time, the uncertainty in the predicted encounter distance still ran into hundreds of thousands of kilometres. Though the most probable encounter distance was established fairly early, the uncertainty was still significant after more than a year of observation. It took 44 days of observation to achieve even a semblance of an orbit determination – one that was still all over the place, with a predicted mean Mars distance at flyby 900,000 km, with a high guess of 3.6 million!

It took seven years of additional observations to identify an object found with one of the world’s best telescopes as a (huge) comet (National Geographic).

One open question: even if you had the required 500 days of observations to make a reasonably accurate calculation of a comet’s orbit, could you ever know with certainty, six months in advance, that the comet would actually hit the Earth rather than whip around it? (See “Chaos and stability of the solar system” for example and, for laypeople, “Our Solar System’s Planetary Orbits Are Ultimately Chaotic, Says French Astronomer” (Forbes)) Paging Dr. Goldbum!

(I emailed a friend who has spent a few decades working with orbital mechanics. To the European Space Agency’s “take it slow” point of view, he added the following:

One problem is that comets, unlike asteroids, have significant non-gravitational forces acting on them: They outgas directionally, producing random small thrusts. Thus their orbits are not as precisely determinable as planets or even asteroids.


Another aspect of Science presented by the Trump-hating writer/director is that people sitting on Earth are able to figure out that the rock part of the comet is packed with $trillions in valuable minerals. They do this with a “spectrometer“, but that instrument would work only on the tail of a comet, not on the rocky core. Although Science could predict that Peru, Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Slovakia would escape COVID-19 deaths due to mask orders and lockdowns and Science plainly has no difficulty predicting Earth’s temperature 100 years from now, I am not aware of Science being able to determine, via remote sensing, the composition of a rock in space. NASA has (easily-found-with-Google) some concepts for doing this, but they involve physical contact with the comet or other space rock. There is no instrument that you can set up in your house to determine the composition of a rock in the neighbor’s yard, right? Why would you imagine that you can set up an instrument in the Atacama Desert and determine the composition of a rock in space?

[Update: see comments for a potential correction to the above from an astronomer.]

In other words, the screenwriter who purports to educate Americans on how stupid Republicans are was apparently unable to use Google to find these written-for-laypeople articles on orbital mechanics and comets. Nor was he/she/ze/they able to read a NASA org chart. All of the scientists at NASA work at the “Kennedy Space Center” (not at Goddard or JPL). They refer to each other as “Dr. X” and “Dr. Y” rather than by first name or first and last names.

One of the elite accusations about the Trumpkins is that only the elites understand that we share our beautiful planet with a veritable rainbow of other nations (though don’t wave that rainbow flag anywhere that it might interfere with elite profits!). Yet the movie makes sense only if we accept that the U.S. is the only country that can act to deflect an incoming comet. If Americans did not exist, the remaining 96 percent of the world’s population would take no action in response to scientifically proven impending species-ending doom. The people who invented rockets and who recently landed a robot on Mars wouldn’t do anything. The people who kicked off the Space Race and who currently operate their own satellite navigation system wouldn’t do anything. The Europeans wouldn’t dispatch any Ariane rockets (this last one is more believable since the EU seems to be 100% occupied with coronapanic!).

(Pravda reports that Russia actually has been working on asteroid deflection since at least 2009. China is a comparative newcomer to this specific area (LiveScience 2021). The Europeans have been working in this area since at least 2005 (ScienceDaily).)

Although the movie cannot be recommended as a tutorial on #Science, it does have some fun parts. Ariana Grande appears (and sings) in the role of pop singer whose romantic life is more interesting to a stupefied and stupid population than an impending extinction event. One of the greatest characters, played by English actor Mark Rylance, is kind of a cross between Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. The unwashed Science-deniers are also fun, e.g., with a range of beliefs from “the comet doesn’t exist” to “the orbital mechanics calculations handed down by Science are wrong.” They gather in huge rallies in support of their Trump-style president. Some of the comedy is provided by the screenwriter trying to figure out how non-elite Americans speak. For example, he/she/ze/they has a young skateboarder say, “Dr. Mindy, Can I be vulnerable in your car?” (Our apartment in Jupiter, Florida is right near a skateboard park and “vulnerable” is not one of the words we hear from the denizens.)

Don’t Look Up is definitely worth watching if you’re already a Netflix subscriber, mostly to see just how wrong someone can get all of the science while making a movie about the dangers of letting people who don’t understand and respect science vote.


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Wisdom from Greta Thunberg at COP26

The wisest comment regarding the most recent mass in-person gathering by the elite? “Greta Thunberg tells protest that COP26 has been a ‘failure'” (BBC):

Ms Thunberg said: “It is not a secret that COP26 is a failure. It should be obvious that we cannot solve a crisis with the same methods that got us into it in the first place.”

She described the UN climate change summit as a “two-week long celebration of business as usual and blah, blah, blah” to “maintain business as usual” and “create loopholes to benefit themselves”.

The logical inconsistency of the gathering was impressive, even by coronapolicy standards. We’re in a climate crisis, so we’ll agree to stop cutting down forests nine years from now (in 2030; BBC: “Experts welcomed the move, but warned a previous deal in 2014 had ‘failed to slow deforestation at all’ and commitments needed to be delivered on.”).

[As with Ayn Rand, I can agree with Greta Thunberg on the description but not the prescription.

She said: “We need immediate drastic annual emission cuts unlike anything the world has ever seen.

“The people in power can continue to live in their bubble filled with their fantasies, like eternal growth on a finite planet and technological solutions that will suddenly appear seemingly out of nowhere and will erase all of these crises just like that.

If this is a 100-year problem, as we’ve been previously told that it is by the climate modelers, why does it make sense to try to deal with it via 2021 technology? was not very impressive compared to what is doable today. If we need to cool off the planet in 2081, won’t we be able to ask a Chinese space company (“Red Origin”?) to pull down the shades for a few days? Greta T. says this is a “technological solution that will suddenly appear seemingly out of nowhere”, but even a 60-year horizon is nearly impossible to predict. The integrated circuit (“chips”) revolution was transforming lives in the 1980s (PCs and dial-up networks). The first inkling of the modern semiconductor transistor was in 1925 (Julius Edgar Lilienfeld), but it wasn’t until after William Shockley and colleagues at Bell Labs made a prototype in late 1947 that anyone could reasonably have begun to foresee the 1980s tech landscape. (so maybe 30 years is about the limit for the smartest person with the best crystal ball?) From the point of view of someone in 1947, the world of 2007 was, in fact, packed with technological solutions that had suddenly appeared seemingly out of nowhere and the world of 2047 will be yet more advanced (maybe you’ll be able to find an Xbox Series X in stock at Walmart by then!). Furthermore, we don’t have to go it alone. If we go back 60 years from today, China was suffering from famine and poverty in the Great Leap Forward. India was deeply impoverished. Taiwan was not a place to get advanced electronic components. Korea was recovering from a war, not making OLED panels, etc.]

No really related… carbon sequestration Palm Beach style:


  • How’s the Climate Change summit in Glasgow going? (“For nearly two years, the global elite have been telling the peasantry not to gather across households for fear of spreading deadly SARS-CoV-2. The global elite have closed borders as well (except for the U.S. southern border, which must remain open), because one certainly wouldn’t want to give a variant virus a chance to infect a new area. It is doubly bad when people from different countries mix. Since at least 2015, when elites gathered in Paris via Gulfstream, elites have been telling the peasants not to emit CO2.”)
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How’s the Climate Change summit in Glasgow going?

For nearly two years, the global elite have been telling the peasantry not to gather across households for fear of spreading deadly SARS-CoV-2. The global elite have closed borders as well (except for the U.S. southern border, which must remain open), because one certainly wouldn’t want to give a variant virus a chance to infect a new area. It is doubly bad when people from different countries mix.

Since at least 2015, when elites gathered in Paris via Gulfstream, elites have been telling the peasants not to emit CO2.

Where are the elite right now? They’ve gathered in Glasgow via Gulfstream, Boeing Business Jet (#WhenAGulfstreamIsTooSmall), and Airbus Corporate Jet for a climate change conference: COP26. And they’re encouraging the rabble to gather and spread coronavirus as well in an indoor “Green Zone”:

From all over the globe, youth activists, Indigenous Peoples, small and large businesses and grass roots communities will be bringing COP26 to life with cultural performances, exhibitions, talks, film screenings and technical demonstrations, all open to the public. Located in the iconic Glasgow Science Centre, on the south bank of the River Clyde, the Green Zone will welcome visitors from 9am – 6pm each day.

Over 200 events will take place in the Green Zone over the 12 days of the summit. Tickets will be available free of charge to the public.

This post is to ask “What news on the Rialto?” Does it look all of our climate dreams will be coming true soon?

Sadly, the G800 was not certified in time for this event…


A graphic from the Daily Mail that attempts to calculate the carbon emissions from flying four heavy jets (two B747s plus two C-17s with the helicopters, limousines, etc.) across the Atlantic and then driving around.

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My most recent Obama moment

An acquaintance who is a Hilton Platinum member was able to give an unworthy person Hilton Gold status and she selected me. At the time, I said “Now I know how Barack Obama felt when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Here’s a more recent example of unearned status/credit:

Dear Philip,

I am seeking permission to use your quote from a Schinn article as an epigraph in my upcoming book, [title regarding children, climate change, and their tender feelings]

Thank you in advance for all you do,


“Children can be frightened if they don’t know there are adults who care about climate change and are trying to fix problems. It can help battle the sense of helplessness and powerlessness.” -Philip Greenspun (Shinn, 2020)

Regular readers of this blog know how important I think it is when a frenetically consuming American speaks sincerely about his/her/zir/their pure intention to “fix problems” and heal our beloved planet. The best way to raise critical awareness is to apply a climate change bumper sticker on a 6,000 lb. pavement-melting SUV.

The quote seems to originate in “Your Guide to Talking With Kids of All Ages About Climate Change”:

Wendy Greenspun, a New York–based clinical psychologist engaged in climate issues. … Children can be frightened if they don’t know there are adults who care about climate change and are trying to fix problems,” notes Greenspun. “It can help battle the sense of helplessness and powerlessness.” Let them know that there are, in fact, millions of adults who are working to protect kids, to answer our own questions about climate change, and to figure out the steps we will take to get to where we need to be, together.

Millions of adults working to protect kids and billions of adults working to burn fossil fuels as fast as time and budget permit!

I thought that readers would appreciate my moment of Climate Sensitivity Glory!

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Unable to cure COVID-19, physicians turn to planetary physics

“Action on Climate Change Is Urged by Medical Journals in Unprecedented Plea” (WSJ, today):

Editors of 220 leading medical, nursing and public-health journals from around the world called for urgent action on climate change, in a joint editorial published on Sunday.

The editorial, which appeared in journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal and The Lancet, warns that current efforts aren’t enough to address health problems resulting from rising global temperatures caused by emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

“Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world,” the journals’ editors say in the editorial. If unchecked, they say, rising temperatures “risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse.”

In their shared statement, the editors press for “fundamental changes in how our societies and economies are organized and how we live” to limit future global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels—a goal arising from the 2015 Paris climate summit.

“It is an unusual happening and it is driven by unusual circumstances,” Dr. Eric J. Rubin, editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, said of the editorial. “It is evident that climate change is a problem. What is less evident to people is that it is a public-health problem, not just a physical catastrophe.”

“Health professionals have been on the front-line of the Covid-19 crisis,“ Dr. Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of the British Medical Journal, said. “And they are united in warning that going above 1.5 C and allowing the continued destruction of nature will bring the next, far deadlier crisis.

I showed the article to a medical school professor friend: “Since doctors can’t help COVID-19 patients, they need something to stay relevant.”

I remain just as confused as ever about why people who predict impending climate doom also worry about COVID-19. Regardless of coronapanic level and government action or inaction, there is no country in which more than 1 percent of people have died with a COVID-19 tag (stats by country). If something like 50 percent of humans will soon be killed by climate change, absent some sort of dramatic coordinated action by all of the world’s nations (unprecedented in the history of humanity), why spend a huge amount of attention, time, effort, and money on COVID-19?

Maybe doom isn’t impending? The article itself contains enough information to predict certain doom. We are 1.1 degrees C warmer than 150 years ago:

Greenhouse-gas emissions from human activity have raised global temperatures by 1.1 degrees C since the Industrial Revolution began in the mid-19th century, according to scientific studies.

In the excerpt above, the article tells us that 1.5 degrees C is where Mother Earth will strike back by killing many or most of her human parasites. But if the mechanism by which we got to 1.1 degrees warmer is the greenhouse effect from CO2, isn’t it certain that there will be an additional 0.4 degrees of warming? Even if human C02 emissions went to zero tomorrow, wouldn’t there be enough CO2 in the atmosphere to keep us on the Venusian trajectory?

If the authors believe their own cited science, shouldn’t their recommendation be to shut down most health care services and put the money (20% of U.S. GDP!) into CO2 vacuums?

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Jet traffic jam on the way to hear Bill Gates talk about climate change

“FAA Throttles Bizjet Traffic To Idaho Billionaires’ Conference” (AVweb):

There were so many business jets headed to the 38th annual Allen and Company conference in Sun Valley that the agency had to throttle traffic to Friedman Memorial Airport, which is 13 miles south of the famed resort town.

Like many small mountain airports, Friedman has a single runway (13/31 7550 x 100) and while that seems ample, it’s also at 5318 feet. Idaho is also in the middle of a historic heat wave so density altitude has been a lot higher than that during the heat of the day. Despite the constraints, dozens of aircraft, from Citations to Global 7500s were funneled into the facility and crammed onto the ramp. Keynote speaker was Bill Gates, who delivered a speech on climate change.

Some good life advice from my own March 2016 trip to Sun Valley:

And we made it out of Idaho at a near-jet speed:

The approach plate for KSUN:

Note the 1600′ minimum ceiling required, i.e., better than VFR minimums to do an instrument approach. There is a somewhat lower procedure available, but only to those whose aircraft have heroic climb rates.


  • “Bill Gates joins Blackstone in bid to buy British private jet services firm” (Guardian): … an approach to buy Signature, which handles more than 1.6m private jet flights a year. … According to a study by academics at Lund University, Gates is one of the world’s biggest “super-emitters” due to his regular private jet travel. He took 59 flights in one year travelling more than 200,000 miles, according to the report, which estimated that Gates’ private jet travel emitted about 1,600 tonnes of carbon dioxide. That compares with a global average of less than five tonnes per person.
  • U.S. local and federal governments respond to an urgent safety situation (it is a mystery to me how we haven’t lost a billionaire or two if they’re actually using the airport closest to Sun Valley)
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