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By Burton Richter

International weather swap is likely one of the most vital matters humanity faces this present day. This publication assesses the practical, mindless and biased proposals for warding off the possibly disastrous results of worldwide warming, permitting the reader to attract their very own conclusions on switching to extra sustainable power provision. Burton Richter is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who has served on many US and foreign evaluation committees on weather switch and effort concerns. He presents a concise evaluation of our wisdom and uncertainties inside of weather switch technological know-how, discusses present strength call for and provide styles, and the strength innovations to be had to chop emissions of greenhouse gases. Written in non-technical language, this e-book provides a balanced view of concepts for relocating from our heavy reliance on fossil fuels right into a even more sustainable strength procedure, and is out there to a variety of readers with no clinical backgrounds - scholars, policymakers, and the involved citizen.

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Extra info for Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Climate Change and Energy in the 21st Century

Sample text

Part (b) of the figure is the total absorption of all the major greenhouse gases, and is very complex. It does not include other minor greenhouse gases, and the data that go into it are from the 1950s when the carbon dioxide level was lower than it is today. Calculating the response of the climate to a change in greenhouse gases is by its nature complicated. The absorption spectra are complex and include what are called feedback effects (changing one thing changes something else) that will be discussed later.

Though the cause of the runaway on Venus is not fully understood, we do know the consequences. Today the Venusian atmosphere is about 90 times denser than ours and it consists almost entirely of CO2. The greenhouse effect is huge and so is the surface temperature. Mars is smaller than Earth. Its diameter is 53% of ours and its surface gravity is 40% of ours. The person weighing 150 pounds on Earth, and 138 pounds on Venus, would weigh only 60 pounds (27 kg) on Mars. This low gravity is what makes Mars lifeless today.

According to the panel members that I know, there seems to have been little politics in the selection of the scientific members of these panels by any country. Each of the three Working Groups produces what is called a Summary for Policymakers. This summary is non-technical and is gone over line by line with representatives of the signers of the UNFCCC at a meeting that has political as well as technical overtones. Since the UN operates by consensus on climate change there has to be agreement on the exact wording of the report, and that language evolves as the scientific evidence evolves.

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