Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Birthday, America!

But, beware. Be very aware...

In the interest of being non-partisan on this Independence Day, I decided not to repost my July 4th greeting from a year ago. But I was sorely tempted. Instead, in light of our heightened sense and awareness of the current assaults on reason, it occurred to me that Al Gore's words would place this day in its correct historical context and facilitate our reflecting upon our current circumstances.

Respect for our president is important. But even more important is respect for our Constitution. In that regard, it is crucial to emphasize that our ingrained American distrust of concentrated power has very little to do with the character or persona of the individual who wields that power; it is the power itself that must be constrained, checked, dispersed, and carefully balanced to ensure the survival of freedom. The limitations on the reach of executive power that are spelled out in the Constitution almost always take more specific form as laws enacted by Congress that Presidents bent on expanding their power are tempted to ignore or violate.

A President who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution - our system of checks and balances - was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said:
The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men.
Our Founders were keenly aware that the history of the world proves that republics are fragile. In the very hour of America's birth in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin was asked, "Well, Doctor, what have we got? A Republic or a Monarchy?" He replied cautiously,
A Republic, if you can keep it.
The survival of freedom depends on the rule of law. The rule of law depends in turn upon the respect each generation of Americans has for the integrity with which our laws are written, interpreted, and enforced. . . .

Once violated, the rule of law is in danger. Unless stopped, lawlessness grows. The greater the power of the the executive grows, the more difficult it becomes for the other branches to perform their constitutional roles. As the executive acts outside its constitutionally prescribed role and is able to control access to information that would expose its actions, it becomes increasingly difficult for the other branches to police it. Once that ability is lost, democracy itself is threatened and we become a government of men and not laws.

An executive who arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directives of Congress or to act free of the check of the judiciary becomes the central threat that the Founders sought to nullify in the Constitution. In the words of James Madison,
The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.
. . . . I think it is safe to say that our Founders would be genuinely concerned about these recent developments in American democracy and that they would feel that we, here, are now facing a clear and present danger with the potential to threaten the future of the American experiment. Shouldn't we be equally concerned, and shouldn't we ask ourselves how it is that we have come to this point?

Beware of my use of ellipsis. In the interest of being non-partisan on this patriotic day which celebrates our American unity, I have excluded some of The Goricle's words. I invite readers to open their own desk copy of Assault on Reason to inform themselves further.

55 Moderated Comments:

Blogger skip sievert said...

Al Gore. A true American.
A born again.
His wife endorsed censorship of media.
He supports the powers that be, Globalism.
-The constitution should be preserved in plastic, and brought to the Smithsonian.
Our type of Political government is no longer functional.
Al Gore is an uncreative twit.

7/04/2007 10:11:00 AM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

The Rev. Al. He's wrong about global warming too. Come to think of it, there isn't anything he isn't wrong about.

7/04/2007 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

See how pervasive this assault on reason has become?

7/04/2007 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Blogging4Food said...

What I see is no sooner does Vigilante try to come off as the bi-partisan uniter, then the dividers sweep in and try to poop on his 4th of July parade.

7/04/2007 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger DB Cooper said...

Yes, Food-Blogger, why do these dividers so hate America (and its founders)?

7/04/2007 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger M.D. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/04/2007 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...

Awesome. I have an iPod. I have Gore's book on it. I listen to bits of it while doing chores, or pushing my unmotorized mower, or before going to sleep at night.

His boook is burning itself into my brain. I can say I am in almost complete agreement with everything Gore says, from his assault on t.v., through the excellent chapters on BushCo, to the concluding chapters on getting things done with the new media.

That book is an inspiration.

I'm now reading Glenn Greenwald's new book - like Gore he goes after the moral failings of BushCo - and I'm starting to feel just a little bit hopeful that we will be able to weather the disastrous Bush presidency and come out the other side stronger and smarter and wiser. Let's hope so.

7/04/2007 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Welcome to La la land M.D.

Your role model is born again, just like Bush.

You are a victim of propaganda, (renamed public relations).

Gore is nothing more than a manufactured persona, hobbled together from bits and pieces of focus groups.

7/04/2007 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

Vigil, in light of the first two ad hominem comments in this thread which beautifully make Al Gore's case pertaining to the present ASSAULT ON REASON, I would be surprised if you weren't rethinking your decision not to go with last year's more partisan approach. Whenever one appeals for bipartisanship, the Weimar Republicans and Neo-Soviets come out of the woodwork. The latter are impotent, but the lingering potency of the former is what endangers our Constitution. Inevitable that they stick their heads in this tent, I guess.

7/04/2007 03:05:00 PM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

Roger L Simon is a pretty smart guy, check out what he has to say about the Gore-blimey.

7/04/2007 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Urbanpink said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/04/2007 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Urbanpink said...

Happy 4th of July Vigilante, you make this patriot proud!

Sievert, you're just wrong on your "facts." You live in some kind of perpendicular universe and you keep repeating your false accusations, e.g. Tipper did not advocate "censorship;" there you go attacking religion by title alone, rather than an individual person's actions, here is a contextual reference to Al Gore being "born again," Gore and it certainly doesn't show in his policies in any onerous way. He shows us the danger of media consolidation and unregulated corporate power to Democracy in his latest book (Democracy is a principle that you are avowedly against anyway).

And any American who advocates tossing our Constititution puts our people and way of life in jeopardy without any sense of law, tradition or history--and is frankly behaving just like George Bush, who should be impeached for treason for taking part in just this action. We have all agreed to this document as Americans, and frankly, that is the ONLY agreement that binds us together as Americans.

Thus, I am convinced that you are some kind of troll (nonsensical, illogical and purposeful pisser-offer) and from now on I will try to just restate this explanation for your statements every time you post something false. It is not worth responding to your bizarre assertions any longer--at this time, they are nothing but troller's trash.

7/04/2007 09:41:00 PM  
Blogger schmog said...

Vigil, I find your highlighting of Gore's book on this Independence Day entirely appropriate. I too, have a copy of the book and am deeply impressed by his precise analysis of the danger to democracy - namely, the institutionalized lack of two-way communication in America's political discourse, and the concentration of media outlets into a few wealthy and powerful interests.

Television is a one way medium -- and most Americans get their 'news' from TV. What appears to be "discourse" is merely a pale substitution of it. A perfect example is Meet the Press - a supposedly objective discourse on the nations issues. Except that the same few beltway insiders are deciding what's important and what people "think". A republic, in theory, derives its power from the consent of the governed - and TV has a way of being able to manufacture an illusion of consent.

Keep on blogging, Vigil. The internet is our access back into the marketplace of ideas.

7/04/2007 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger schmog said...

oh, and p.s. - you just gotta love "I won't post last year's July 4 post" and then actually post it.... were you a politician at one point? ;-)

7/04/2007 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Urbanpink said...

ligneus' blog did not allow me to leave a comment, I guess it's friends only, and I just wanted to point out that ridicule is used over facts on he and his referenced sites, e.g. his entry here. You don't need any evidence in their world, just an accusation.

7/04/2007 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Urban pink, you are short on facts.
Al Gore is a born again.
Read his interviews.
His wife wanted to censor music. Fact.
Vigil and the host of people who ruminate here on things they do not understand, are actually part of the problem.
The great unwashed brainwashed.

Have you ever heard of the National Assoc. of Manufacturers ?

Groups such as them have turned Americans into passive consumers, that are unaware of the actual dynamic of the political system.

They use ignorant, and yes pompous people like Gore to appeal for a former 'great age' to confuse, and keep Americans in the dark regarding real alternative ideas.
Many people here are only victims of 1984 style brainwashing.
---
"We have all agreed to this document as Americans, and frankly, that is the ONLY agreement that binds us together as Americans."
Ha ha.
What century do you live in ?

7/05/2007 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

UrbanPink:

Thank you for your comments. Yes, Ligneus' blog is just one more conservative blog where commenting is made 'user unfriendly'. As you know, I have made this complaint to him before in my pages, but to no effect. As Messenger fortuitously pointed out above, Ligneus contributes to Gore's case in yet another way - by favoring one-way communication. Schmog makes the same point. And M.D., I always look for your comment. You are the one who encouraged me to plow into Gore's recorded A.O.R. and that advice was so well-founded that I have put Glenn Greenwald on my list already!

7/05/2007 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger TomCat said...

Great post, Vig and well supported. I note thet your're resident 28er is long on rhetoric, but short on supporting documentation.

7/05/2007 07:52:00 AM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

Hey Skippy-Linus it seems you have once again wandered out your Pumkin patch. You claim to believe in free speech and expression but your attitude and responses you give other people that challenge you are far more akin to Stalinism and Hitlerism. You once wrote a comment directed to Chuck that you Technocracy types were above politics when he called you a communist. I jumped in asking you where were your fellow travelers and all I got was insults that never answered the simple question you left yourself open to. I hate to add that there are no angry crowds in this country, other than those that might live inside your mind, looking to your system to save them from the special interest types you rave about. The political spectrum in this country has groups from Nazis on the far-right to Commies on the far-left. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, and Socialists along with many others cans easily be found except for your technobabble brothers and sisters. I have no doubt that others like you exist its just that they make up the tiny fringe wacko realm along with 21st century Southern sessionists, Anarcho-capitalists, and the Flat Earth society. So I ask you again, where are the huge masses that are looking to your system? Where are the celebrity and political pundits that make the case for just about every political movement under the sun? I know, you claim everyone else in this country but you are brainwashed but at what point does this delusion wear thin even to you. Does the normal human doubt that every sane person must face at times ever creep into your mind that you may be the one out of touch with reality? Are is it that you are so consumed with hate, something even Mike pointed out one time, that all who oppose you are evil.

7/05/2007 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Thanks for the far reaching dumb comment.

Einstein :
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the former"

In true troll fashion you point the finger at me, when you should perhaps be thinking about what I am saying.

The subject is Al Gore.

You are my candidate for 'cog of the day'
Congratulations.

7/05/2007 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

A subtext of this 4th of July post is that Al Gore's new best-selling ASSAULT ON REASON elevates him to the level of 21st century Alexis de Tocqueville, such is the length, depth and breadth of his critique of our politics. Not unwarranted.

7/05/2007 09:54:00 AM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/05/2007 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

I'm sorry everyone I did drift off the current subject but given the nature of Skippy-Linus's usual stance that all that oppose him are "part of the problem" and that everyone else is brainwashed except him. Given that he continues to state that we are on the verge of either a military coup that will enact his delusional system or that hidden masses exist in this country yearning to sign away their rights to warmed over communism but never giving evidence to who these people are my comments hold.

7/05/2007 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Suzie-Q (S-Q) said...

I hope Al Gore runs for President! ;)

7/05/2007 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger the WIZARD, fkap said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/05/2007 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Messenger said...

This guy FKAP: He is in the wrong thread. He is disrupting a conversation on Gore's grasp on the intentions of the Founders of our Republic. If he really wanted to show respect for the people here and if he really wanted to engage in a discussion about Libby vs. the United States, he would have put his comments here.

7/05/2007 07:38:00 PM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

I have apologised before for my comments being out of order, my blogmeister is too busy to fix it and I'm no good at that sort of thing so there you go.
As for saying that I just accuse, no facts, well not quite true. I have linked for instance to a series of articles in the National Post on eminent scientists who dispute the global warming theories, who in fact point out the inaccuracies and false assertions in Al Gore's movie. The information is out there if you care to look for it.
Since I don't have a lot of time for commenting I maybe should not do it, but sometimes I like to put in my two penn'orth when I read stuff that is untrue.

7/05/2007 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Yellow Dog said...

Speaking for myself, I am willing to look at anything, Ligneus. But if all you can offer me is Roger L. Simon, I am not holding my breath. The only morsel that Simon's link provided was a discussion of the arrest of Gore's son. That is beyond laughable. That is insulting. That is pathetic. When you can take more time from your busy schedule, which apparently only now allows you to catch broadcasts from Fox News, maybe then you'll be worth listening to. How about a single scientific, peer-reviewed monograph? No?? Hasta mañana.

7/05/2007 09:58:00 PM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

yellow dog, OK, here is a link [I hope it works] to some of the National Post articles on The Deniers, scientists who oppose the 'global warmists' theories of man caused climate change. At the very least it shows that the 'consensus' so beloved of the gw devotees is propaganda.
If I can find a way to link to more of the articles, I'll post it but off to work now!

7/06/2007 05:14:00 AM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

PS. I see if you click on the first item listed it takes you to a list of the articles.

7/06/2007 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

For people that do not believe in global warming, I offer a simple test.

Drive their car into their garage, and then sit in it, with the motor running, after you have closed the garage door.

Then just relax, and listen to the radio.

It might be a good idea to have someone check on you in about 30 minutes though, to see if you are still conscious.

We live in a closed system.
Logic dictates that global warming and ecological destruction from it are real.

7/06/2007 07:43:00 AM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

Poor analogy. Firstly it would be the carbon monoxide that would kill you. Secondly, though the earth is a closed system, it is way more complex than a car running in a closed garage. For instance, vegetation takes in CO2 and gives out oxygen. Water vapour is a much more significant 'greenhouse' gas than CO2.
And check out the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Dry unpolluted air is usually considered to contain about


78% nitrogen
21% oxygen
1% other gases

The other gases are

The inert (or noble, or rare) gases

Argon (0.9%)
Neon (less than 0.01%)
Helium (less than 0.01%)
Krypton (less than 0.01%)
Xenon (less than 0.01%)
Radon (less than 0.01%)

Carbon dioxide (0.03%)

.03%!! What a killer!

7/06/2007 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Despite scientific evidence of climate change, governments in most affluent countries have avoided their responsibility to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The USA and China are the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide. US emissions have increased to 7 billion tones of CO2 in the year 2004, 16 % higher than emissions in the late 90's. The UK has done better reducing their emissions to about 0.6 billion tons, 14% below 1990 levels.

Exhaust from all combustion engines combine to produce local adverse effects on the health of car users and all innocent bystanders. Cities have become islands of toxic chemicals from the unrestrained use of vehicles burning fossil fuels. Cars are noisy, ugly, often dangerous and dominate the experience of modern living. We are now used to the carnage on roads and highways- attempts to reduce death and disability from our motorized containers have not substantially altered the negative impact on society. The adverse health effects of car exhaust are pervasive and difficult to measure.

7/06/2007 02:37:00 PM  
Anonymous daydreamer said...

Let's just say that global warming is the farce some people think it is, and that whatever impact man has on the climate is miniscule...what could be wrong with living "green" to lessen that impact?

Ligneus said:

"Carbon dioxide (0.03%)

.03%!! What a killer!"

Can you offer evidence that an increase in carbon dioxide to say 0.04% won't have a negative effect?

I'd rather not take that chance.

7/07/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

I don't know if increasing carbon to .04% would have an adverse effect, the biosphere is a living and to some extent self regulating entity. More carbon dioxide would mean more vegetation over a larger part of the world, the vegetation would take out more of the CO2. [I read somewhere that plants give off C02 at night, will have to check that].
Apart from all that, there is a credible theory that our climate is more affected by the sun's activity than it is by happenings on earth. There is a link between that and the medieval warm period which was followed by a mini ice age. [As far as is known there wasn't an industrial revolution between 1,000 AD and around 1400 AD] At that time there was farming in Greenland, vineyards in England, and no dire effects like sea levels inundating low lying land.
Since the mini ice age ended coincidentally around the time the industrial revolution occurred, we have been in another warm period. There is evidence that the sun's activity is changing again and could result in another cold period, in which case maybe governments could arrange carbon credits for producing instead of reducing carbon emissions.

By the way, have you seen the estimates of carbon production caused by this silly huge rock concert thingy that Al Gorhythm has promoted?

Another by the way, it would be much better to read the articles I linked to than my necessarily brief and ill written attempts to put the case against anthropogenic global warming.

7/07/2007 08:09:00 PM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

PS. I have nothing against 'living green', if by that you mean reducing pollutants, are you listening China? I don't regard C02 as a pollutant, rather it is essential to our carbon based biological system.

7/07/2007 08:13:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

I'm sorry, but CO2 is an important greenhouse gas. I'd challenge you to produce even one peer reviewed piece of research in the last 50 years that disputes that CO2 contributes to the greenhouse effect.

7/08/2007 07:05:00 AM  
Blogger GetaLife-ReadUrNews said...

I'm bookmarking this conversation. I'm wagering Ligneus is not going to measure up to the Sievert Challenge.

7/08/2007 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

skip sievert, It isn't at all settled that there is an abnormal greenhouse effect happening, see the articles I linked to.
Water vapour has much more effect than CO2, you'd hardly call that a pollutant.
A pollutant is by definition something that would improve the environment by its elimination. If you were to eliminate CO2, it would mean the end of life on earth.
So again, I'm not trying to say that CO2 isn't a 'greenhouse' gas. I'm saying that it's far from settled that it is the cause of our current warm period. If the earth could have a warm period lasting some four centuries in medieval times which by the way has been linked to sunspot activities at the time, why should we not have one now?
One other thing, in case you're putting my views in the category of right wing raving or whatever, check out Small Town Scribbles, a lefty, Labour supporting blogger in UK, writing on the Al Gorblimey rock concert thingy and as she puts it, The Global Warming Gravy Train.

7/08/2007 09:29:00 AM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

Just saw this on American Thinker about an article in SCIENCE Magazine, SCIENCE Magazine Waffles on Warming.

"Highly qualified climate scientists have long warned that warming estimates have at least one giant question mark: Water vapor and other tiny particles in the atmosphere. By failing to include reliable estimates of such "hazes" (not necessarily pollutants, as the article says), global warming models are likely to err wildly on the side of warming. It's the unseen elephant in the living room.
The SCIENCE article therefore finally admits what scientific critics have been saying for years."

Worth checking out.

7/08/2007 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

Sorry, the link in the last comment doesn't work, try again.

http://www.americanthinker.
com/2007/07/science_magazine_waffles_on_wa.html

7/08/2007 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Eleanor Deakin said...

I'm thinking that book is the assault on reason.


m.d., I started off thinking you were being sarcastic, and as such your comment was quite funny. But then I came to the horrifying realization that you are voluntarily brainwashing yourself.

7/08/2007 11:10:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

The Earth has a natural CO2 cycle that moves massive amounts of CO2 into and out of the atmosphere. The oceans and land vegetation release and absorb over 200 billion metric tons of carbon into and out of the atmosphere each year. When the cycle is balanced, atmospheric levels of CO2 remain relatively stable. Human activities are now adding about 7 billion metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year, which is only about 3–4% of the amount exchanged naturally. But that’s enough to knock the system out of balance, surpassing nature’s ability to take our CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere. The oceans and land vegetation are absorbing about half of our emissions; the other half remains airborne for 100 years or longer. This is what is causing the rapid buildup of CO2, a buildup that dwarfs natural fluctuations.

7/08/2007 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

BTW.
Global dimming, what you are talking about as far as tiny particles floating around in the air, have contributed to masking the effects of Global Warming.

Mostly likely we are going to find out that global warming is much much worse than has been thought.

7/08/2007 12:44:00 PM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

From the latest National Post article, this one by Prof Prof. Tom V. Segalstad, head of the Geological Museum within the Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo.


"Until recently, the world of science was near-unanimous that CO2 couldn't stay in the atmosphere for more than about five to 10 years because of the ocean's near limitless ability to absorb CO2.
This time period has been established by measurements based on natural carbon-14 from nuclear weapons testing, it has been established by radon-222 measurements, it has been established by measurements of the solubility of atmospheric gases in the oceans, it has been established by comparing the isotope mass balance, it has been established through other mechanisms, too, and over many decades, and by may scientists in many disciplines, says Prof Segalstad, whose work has often relied upon such measurements.
Then, with the advent of IPCC influenced science, the length of time that carbon stays in the atmosphere became controversial. Climate change scientists began creating carbon cycle modes to explain what they thought must be an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These computer models calculated a long life foe carbon dioxide.
Amazingly, the hypothetical results from climate modes have trumped the real world measurements of carbon dioxide's longevity in the atmosphere. Those who claim that CO2 lasts decades or centuries have no such measurements or other physical evidence to support their claims.
Neither can they demonstrate that the various forms of measurement are erroneous.
"They don't even try," says Prof Segalstad. "They simply dismiss evidence that is, for all intents and purposes, irrefutable. Instead they substitute their faith, constructing a kind of science fiction or fantasy world in the process."

7/08/2007 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

How dangerous is it ?
- Concentrations of more than 5% of CO2 is poisonous. CO2 displaces oxygen. We usually breathe out 4.5% CO2, and 5% is poisonous. Our lungs are not capable of getting rid of CO2 if there is too much CO2 in the air ...

- The level of carbon dioxide is the main signal used by the body to ensure the correct breathing rate: see 'air hunger'. So yes, excessive levels of CO2 in the air screw up one of the most important control mechanisms in the body, I think that can be defined as "toxic"...
Carbon dioxide also acidifies the blood, so I can imagine that raising the concentration would play havoc with your body. People who have worked with dry ice and gotten a lungful of the vapors experience the lungs seizing up.
Yes, you can asphyxiate on higher levels of CO2.
An example of this was the lakes in Cameroon, Africa that killed some hundred people and animals when it released a huge amount of CO2. If your blood pH changes too much your cells do not work properly.

7/08/2007 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

U.S. Department of Commerce | National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration | NOAA Research
NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

ESRL Integrating Research Themes
Overview
Understanding Earth System Processes and Changes
Carbon Cycle Science
Radiative Forcing of Climate by Non-CO2 Atmospheric Gases
Aerosols: Climate and Air Quality
The Weather-Climate Connection
Climate and Water Systems
Building and Evaluating Simulative and Predictive Capabilities
Regional Scale Assimilation and Modeling
Global Weather Assimilation and Modeling


Research > Carbon Cycle Science

Carbon Cycle Information

* What is the Carbon Cycle?
* Why is it important?
* What do we know?
* What don't we know?
* What is NOAA's role?
* What will we need to know in the future?
* What are the benefits for society?
* Programmatic Information

Carbon Cycle Science
Global climate projections and regional climate forecasts depend on understanding the path of carbon through our environment.

Projecting climate into the future and forecasting regional impacts depends on our understanding of the exchange of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere, oceans and land ecosystems. NOAA is charged to provide the atmospheric measurements and analyses required to track the fate of carbon dioxide emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels and biomass, and to reduce uncertainties in how the exchange of carbon responds to the variations and trends of climate and land use.
What is the Carbon Cycle?

Carbon is exchanged, or "cycled" among Earth's oceans, atmosphere, ecosystem, and geosphere. All living organisms are built of carbon compounds. It is the fundamental building block of life and an important component of many chemical processes. It is present in the atmosphere primarily as carbon dioxide (CO2), but also as other less abundant but climatically significant gases, such as methane (CH4).
Diagram of carbon cycle sources and sinks. (see article)

Sources and Sinks

Because life processes are fueled by carbon compounds which are oxidized to CO2, the latter is exhaled by all animals and plants. Conversely, CO2 is assimilated by plants during photosynthesis to build new carbon compounds. CO2 is produced by the burning of fossil fuels, which derive from the preserved products of ancient photosynthesis. The atmosphere exchanges CO2 continuously with the oceans. Regions or processes that predominately produce CO2 are called sources of atmospheric CO2, while those that absorb CO2 are called sinks.

Why is the Carbon Cycle important?

While CO2 is only a very small part of the atmosphere (0.04%), it plays a large role in the energy balance of the planet.

CO2 in the atmosphere acts like a blanket over the planet by trapping longwave radiation, which would otherwise radiate heat away from the planet. As the amount of CO2 increases, so will its warming effect.
- CO2 is the largest contributor (currently 63%) to this effect by long-lived gases and its role increases each year.
The additional burden of CO2 in the atmosphere will remain for a very long time, of the order of thousands of years, if we have to rely on the natural mechanisms of erosion and sedimentation to process the added CO2.
What do we know about the Carbon Cycle?

NOAA CO2 Data

* Up-to-date Mauna Loa and Global trends
* NOAA Baseline Observatories
* Global View Dataset
* Cooperative Air Sampling
* Interactive CO2 Data Visualization
* NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index

Owing primarily to the burning of fossil fuels and secondarily to changes in land-use, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has been increasing globally since the onset of the industrial revolution. Based on 50 years of direct observations of the atmosphere, it is clear that this trend continues and is accelerating. From observatories and cooperative sampling sites around the world, NOAA measures global greenhouse gases and works with partners to improve the accuracy and reliability of these measurements in order to improve our understanding of the sources, sinks, and trends of this important gas and to improve our predictive capability. This continuing record is critical to understanding the potential evolution of global climate as well as aiding or verifying international management strategies.
Greenhouse gas index

Radiative forcing of all the long-lived greenhouse gases, relative to 1750, and the NOAA Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI) on the right axis, which is indexed to 1 on January 1, 1990.
What don't we know about the Carbon Cycle?

Needed Developments

* Tall Tower Network
* North American source and sink model

Although we have a good sense of what is happening with CO2 on a global basis, and have a sound system for following large-scale trends, regional information is needed if society is ever to manage or verify carbon emissions. We must understand regional variations in the sources and sinks of CO2 because they help identify possible sequestration or emission management options. Ideally, these regional evalutions would be done on a global basis. Our first and perhaps most important step is to focus on the North American continent.
Regional Attribution

North American CO2 source and sink model.

Global measurements establish a baseline for understanding CO2, but they do not show the smaller details needed to manage CO2 regionally or to mitigate regional impacts. The U.S. has initiated new programs in these areas to improve our understanding of regional source and sinks in which NOAA plays a vital role:
Analysis of North American Production and Absorption of CO2.

Two of the primary aims of the North American Carbon Program (NACP), a multi-agency effort, are

* to measure the uptake and loss of CO2 by monitoring ecosystem emissions and
* to verify estimates of human and natural emissions or uptake.

NOAA's responsibility is for the latter of these efforts.
CO2 measuring tower.
Vertical sampling of the atmosphere

In support of this effort, NOAA is developing a vertical sampling network over North America, including routine samples from aircraft and nearly continuous measurements from very tall towers, to determine the distribution of CO2 throughout the height of the atmosphere. Without this effort, credible accurate estimates of regional emissions over time based on atmospheric measurements are not possible.
Impacts of increasing CO2 on other systems

Continued emission of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere will affect climate and ocean chemistry, subsequently influencing both marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The warming effects of increasing CO2 and other greenhouse gases impinge on agriculture, natural systems, and a host of environmental variables. Increasing CO2 in the atmosphere also directly translates to increasing acidity of the oceans. Carbon dioxide dissolves in water to form carbonic acid, which is corrosive to the shells and skeletal material of many marine organisms. Subsequent impacts on ecosystems are largely not understood.
Improved modeling and monitoring

Understanding regional influences on atmospheric CO2 requires a carefully designed sampling and analysis network. Our approach involves making use of analysis modeling, where data are used to optimize models so that they can best explain observed spatial and temporal variations in atmospheric CO2. Analysis modeling also helps us identify where new sites are needed or where old sites could be repositioned to obtain better results. We are increasing the suite of natural and human emitted gases to improved our ability to attribute the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 to specific sources and sinks. This interactive approach for observation, analysis, and modeling will lead to the development of a stronger, more precise predictive capability for NOAA and its partners and thus a more reliable source of information for society.
What is NOAA's role?

Major Partnerships

* WMO Global Atmospheric Watch
* U.S. Federal Agencies
o NASA
o DOE
o USDA
o USGS
o EPA
* University of Colorado
o CIRES
o INSTAAR
* NOAA Partners
o Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
o Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

NOAA is responsible for acquiring and maintaining the global, regional, and local record of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. NOAA's network is the backbone of the global system embraced by World Meteorological Organization (WMO) that not only provides accurate and timely information on CO2 and other gases, but also fosters international cooperation and collaboration on an issue that is of global importance. Maintaining such a network requires a dedication to accuracy, precision, cooperation, and complete transparency. NOAA's scientists not only are involved in maintaining a large portion of the world network, but also provide the calibration necessary for an integrated network and serve on several advisory groups and expert committees for assuring quality control, improving understanding, and identifying future needs. Only through careful management and interpretation of accurate, high-resolution measurements can we manage our environmental resources efficiently and effectively.
Map of monitoring network

The NOAA global cooperative air sampling network used to determine the AGGI. Red dots are weekly flask sampling sites and blue circles are continuous measurement sites.

Contributions to Climate-Relevant Efforts

* U.S. Climate Change Science Program
* U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan
* North American Carbon Program Implementation Plan
* International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

What will we need to know in the future?

Anthropogenic emissions, emissions limitations, sequestration, and ocean chemistry will likely play leading roles in the future atmospheric CO2 burden. Coupled models will be required for long term projections. Answers to key questions such as the following will require careful observation and skilled modeling, all of which we aim to achieve, working together with our partners. We will also need an early warning system for potentially large, but hard to predict, changes in the carbon cycle, such as massive emissions of CO2 from frozen carbon compounds in Arctic permafrost as it warms up.

* How can we gain enough confidence in these models for them to aid in decision making?
* Which features can be validated?
* Can we estimate the length of time that a particular sequestration option is secure?
* What are biophysical limits of biological sequestration?
* How much CO2 can be stored in geological reservoirs, how much in the oceans?
* What are likely environmental impacts of different strategies?
* How does the effectiveness of sequestration compare to decreasing the "carbon intensity" of our activities?

How does society benefit from this knowledge?

If society is to manage or reduce carbon emissions in the future, reliable and accurate information will be needed on local, regional, and global scales. Atmospheric measurements of the spatial and temporal trends of CO2 in the atmosphere are essential for reaching quantitative understanding the sources and sinks of this gas. Without accurate measurements, the effictiveness of mitigation or verification of emission reduction become very uncertain. So is evaluation of new energy strategies. The current world-wide network operated by NOAA provides a global foundation for monitoring and understanding these trends. Our developing North American network will increasingly provide the kind of regional information and source characterization necessary for rational management of carbon emissions. Society will be increasingly prepared to deal with the shifts of regional and global climate. In the future, coupling CO2 models with other environmental models will improve predictions and long-term stewardship strategies.
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7/08/2007 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger Blogging4Food said...

I've been called so many times a 'cog' by Skip, I've just accepted an icon of a Gearhead for myself. Now, all of a sudden, Skip is coming off like a total Gorehead. It could have been anticipated. A Gore administration would provide full employment for all technocratz.

7/08/2007 06:19:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Gore is a part of the problem.

Gore is an idiot.
Gore and the other politicians are destroying us.

Here is an excerpt from an interesting letter,

'Lest anyone be lulled into economic euphoria by the recent upsurge in stock values, let's take a sobering stroll into reality, courtesy of the web site Factbook sponsored by that most esteemed of American institutions, the Central Intelligence Agency, which offers us a table on who of 163 nations is where on the financial balance sheet (2006 estimates).

"On top of the black ink side of the heap we have that nation that provides most of our manufactured goods (and which is now consuming 32 million of acres of irreplaceable virgin forest annually to meet demand for wood products, largely from us), China, on the plus side at $179.1 billion. Running a close second is Japan, at $174.4 billion. Rounding out the top five we have Germany, Russia (hey, I thought the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union put them out of action), and — no surprise here — Saudi Arabia.
"Even impoverished Bangladesh, whose per capita energy consumption equals one-half of one percent of the U.S., is in the plus column, albeit at a modest $339 million.

"Now let's move to the dismal side of the chart. Which nation is most submerged in a sea of red ink?

"Hint: It's the nation that spends more on military hardware and has more foreign bases than every other industrial nation combined, yet whose troops continue to be mired in a dead-end war against homemade IEDs and suicide bombers. It's the nation that spends more per capita on health care yet ranks 36th in infant mortality (humble Cuba ranks 34th). It's the nation whose students continually score dead last in science and math against every other industrial nation.

"It's also the nation that is currently outsourcing over $400 billion per year in government contracts to private corporations (even the Homeland Security Department has on its website a corporate grab bag in its "Open for Business" section, offering lucrative opportunities to those so patriotically inclined as to rush to keep the country safe at a profit). This includes over 100,000 mercenary troops in Iraq, and over half of these contracts are not open to competitive bidding — the bulk of them awarded to heavy contributors to Republican candidates. There are now more people in the private sector working on government contracts, with little oversight, than are actually employed by the government, which is subject to constant scrutiny.
"Cut big government? Sure, and turn it over to corporate enterprise. I believe it was Mussolini who defined fascism as the merger of corporations and government (he called it corporatism).

"The biggest loser? You guessed it. This is the nation co-led by a multimillionaire (getting more so by the day thanks to his connections with certain aforementioned contractors) who blithely observed that deficits are meaningless. Yep, it's the good old land of the free, which stands at the dead bottom of the pile at a whopping minus $862.3 billion and still sinking.

"Conclusion: Our nation and people are slowly being bled to death by corporate greed and government corruption, the vast profit takings of which account for the abysmal financial state of the country — and that deficit that is so meaningless? It is costing the vast majority of us more and more, everyday and in every way.'

Sincerely, Stephen L. Doll, Ormond Beach, Florida"

7/08/2007 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

COMMENT MODERATION:

Those commenting are requested to refrain from over-long contributions; more concise statements are preferred, supplemented with links as necessary.

Comments cannot be edited for length by the management, so comments which offend on account of length or lack of materiality will have to be deleted in their entirety.

7/08/2007 09:31:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Sorry.

7/09/2007 07:00:00 AM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

One more comment.

Global warming explained!

First paragraph:

Without the impact of solar radiation, the temperature on the earth would be about the same as the temperature of space, which is about -454 C. The amount of radiation reaching the earth is about 1,368 watts per square meter. This is a vast amount of energy, which would require the simultaneous output of 1.7 billion of our largest power plants to match. About 70 percent of this solar energy is absorbed and 30 percent is reflected. However, the amount of solar energy reaching the earth is not constant, but varies in several independent cycles of different degrees of magnitude, which may or may not reinforce each other.

Do go and read it.

7/11/2007 07:39:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

This is an excerpt from a science news story posted on the BBC today.
Go to BBC world to read the entire story.
It puts the final nail in the coffin for those who think climate change is sun related only, and not due to humans putting greenhouse gas`s into the environment.
'No Sun link' to climate change
By Richard Black
BBC Environment Correspondent

"Scientists have been measuring the frequency of solar flares
A new scientific study concludes that changes in the Sun's output cannot be causing modern-day climate change."

"It shows that for the last 20 years, the Sun's output has declined, yet temperatures on Earth have risen.

It also shows that modern temperatures are not determined by the Sun's effect on cosmic rays, as has been claimed.

Writing in the Royal Society's journal Proceedings A, the researchers say cosmic rays may have affected climate in the past, but not the present.

"This should settle the debate," said Mike Lockwood, from the UK's Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory, who carried out the new analysis together with Claus Froehlich from the World Radiation Center in Switzerland.


This paper re-enforces the fact that the warming in the last 20 to 40 years can't have been caused by solar activity
Dr Piers Forster
Dr Lockwood initiated the study partially in response to the TV documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, broadcast on Britain's Channel Four earlier this year, which featured the cosmic ray hypothesis.

"All the graphs they showed stopped in about 1980, and I knew why, because things diverged after that," he told the BBC News website.

"You can't just ignore bits of data that you don't like," he said.

7/11/2007 08:05:00 AM  
Anonymous ligneus said...

Yah think so? Well not so fast, check out this from the Daily Telegraph.

The BBC was enthusiastically one-sided, sloppy and confused on its website, using concepts such as the sun's power, output and magnetic field incorrectly and interchangeably, as well as not including any criticism of the research.

Sadly typical from the BBC these days.

7/14/2007 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

I will take the BBC over the Daily Telegraph any day. The BBC does a good job of follow up. They do not have an ax to grind either way, except in the sense that they also are a part of popular 'culture'.

The Telegraph also has a Science section that explicitly states the Co2 is a climate change issue.

Some points about the climate that are basic physics and accepted by the scientific community (yes even the Daily Telegraph.)

The greenhouse gas effect is not disputed and without the re-radiation of energy trapped by these greenhouse gases (aka the GREENHOUSE EFFECT), the temperature of the earth would be -17 degrees Celsius (type 'temperature of earth without greenhouse effect' into Google). So with the sun still shining as bright as it is today, without this effect we would be an ice planet.

2) the majority of this greenhouse effect is due to water vapour , and CO2 only makes up a very small proportion. However the important point to note about this is that water vapour has a transient affect, where as CO2 will act as a Green House Gas in the atmosphere for up to 100 years, and according to N.O.A.,longer.

3) Pre-industrial levels of CO2 were around 280ppm (parts per million), they are now at 385 ppm - and yes, we do know that the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is due to us, as isotope studies have been carried out, showing the source of the additional carbon dioxide is from burning of fossil fuels.

One does not have to be a eco-nut/fascist/Marxist or Libertarian, or any other kind of political flunky to understand that the Earth is a closed system.
It is important to be aware of the accepted current scientific thinking regarding climate physics. (with or without man-made climate change).

7/15/2007 08:11:00 AM  

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