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OT - Is this an example of "global warming"?

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I can only repeat myself - do the research on both sides and then make informed choices.

This was taken from an article on Black Holes at www.holoscience.com :

The astronomer Fred Hoyle once wrote of the herd mentality in his profession: ?The trouble with conformity is that the process has strong positive feedback. The baaing starts up at a volume low enough to permit stronger-minded animals to think for themselves without too much trouble. Progressively, however, we break down one-by-one, losing all power of sensible judgement, to the point where we can do nothing but add our own baaing to the uproar, which eventually rises to such monumental proportions that nothing remains for the flock except the butcher?s shop.?

I am glad that there are scientists who resist the herd mentality of percieving CO2 as the sole culprit of our dubious Global Warming.

Keep in mind also - who profits most from the 'Global Warming Trade'? I am serious - there is CO2 trading going on in Europe - there is a commodity mentality with it!!

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All right, Hector, instead of wagging your finger in our faces, why don't you tell us what you want us to do? Give me grass-roots stuff, not some global pie-in-the-sky.


I am typing this while wearing a warm vest so I can keep the heat turned down. I have clothes on a drying rack so I don't have to turn the dryer on. I have 3 recycling bins and I compost so we (4 people) generate very little trash. I can't afford a hybrid car, but I keep my cars maintained. Unfortunately I do have to drive occasionally because I don't live close enough to walk or ride a bicycle. I wish my boys could ride their bikes to school or walk like I did but unfortunately, my county is scrambling to build schools and when they do, they are out in the sticks.


I'm doing my part. And, by the way, the last couple of days when it was warm, I didn't have to turn my heat on! Cool, how that worked out, isn't it?

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Our "global warming" ended today. Ice expected tomorrow. When I moved here (North Carolina) in 1988, I remember January was really warm, and early February. At the time the talk was all about the "New Ice Age" (remember that?) - although the guy who first was at the head of that movement had been sort of wishy washy on it for the last few years. Anyway, that's been the pattern more or less around here since I've lived here and long time residents (and one trained climatologist I know) confirm this sense - North Carolina has winter in fall and spring.


Why has weather gone from the very symbol of an inane topic we used to use to change the subject ("Ahem. Lot of weather we've been having lately, eh?") - to a life-or-death issue where every normal blip of Mother Nature is front page news?





I fear the answer is not in the weather itself being suddenly newsworthy, but the people who report it, making it so. Several competing news channels, on 24/7 - just as we talk about the weather when we have nothing to say, well, they do too.


I wish they wouldn't do so - it really takes away their credibility on significant issues like pollution and things that have real and provable environmental impact like deforestation, strip mining, commercial fishing practices, and factory farming.

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North Carolina has winter in fall and spring.
Rebecca, you are so right! I was born in North Carolina in March of 1960 and it snowed every Wednesday of the month. Ask anyone who is a native and they will remember it!


How about our terrible ice storm in December several years ago (was it 2003 or 2004)? Everyone thought that was so weird to be having winter weather so EARLY!

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I've heard of the "Wednesday snows". Let's see, we dodged the bullet on that awful ice storm - I believe it was 04 because I remember taking a dog down to Karen's for training and seeing all the broken trees on the way.

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I think the really bad ice storm where the whole state basically got blasted was in '02. It had to have been the year before DH and I got married, because it was while I was still living in the old rental house. Lost power for 6-1/2 days, and had to leave the house because Ginger and I had NO source of heat whatsoever, and the lack of insulation made it every bit as cold inside the house as it was outside the house.


I believe there was another storm in '04 - but it wasn't as catastrophic as the '02 one. I still get cold just thinking about it.

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Laura, I think you're right, the bad one was in 2002. We had to have 14 damaged trees removed. I think the one in 2004 was when my son made High School All-State Chorus and he was supposed to spend the night in Greensboro. They came home early, thank goodness!

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We kept dodging the bullet so it's hard to remember. We WERE slammed by the one in, I think, '94 - that one was in February I think - Winston-Salem was shut down for almost three weeks. We lived in a doublewide with no heat except for a fireplace and Patrick was out of town - he had a business trip in Arizona! I'll never forget sitting on the front porch watching the trees on the front lawn of the person acrss the street, crash down the hill one at a time. There were about twenty trees up there and by afternoon they were all gone - well, they were all over the hill and on the highway.

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I think I remember the one from '94....I was only 5 at the time though, so I may me imagining things.


I definitely remember the 02 and 04 ones though. One of our larger oak trees dropped a limb the size of an entire tree across the driveway.

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(Fair warning -- long-winded post)


Dixie_Girl -- (Jack & Co. later)


If you want proof that a fire is hot you can hold your hand over it. If you want proof about global climate change, and considering that you are not an expert yourself, the best you can do is to educate yourself about what experts are saying. The world's most expert group of scientists on global climate change is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is comprised of 2000 climate scientists from around the world. The IPCC assesses the scientific, technical, and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.


Their official position is that humans are almost certainly causing climate change on the planet Earth. With each passing year their level of certainty becomes higher. While their certainty is not 100%, it is sufficiently high to serve as a wake-up call for the entire human race to take this matter very seriously.


I think it is especially significant that the IPCC is saying that we still have a window of time in which catastrophic climate change can be reversed and avoided. But if the human race doesn't take heed and make changes starting NOW, at some point in the not-too-distant future we will cross a threshold and it will no longer be possible to reverse or stop catastrophic changes to the Earth's climate. The IPCC's predictions for the human effect of that scenario are way beyond horrible.


Please understand that it is the nature of the real world that there will never be unanimous agreement on a topic such as climate change. Some people come to the table with their own agenda that may block any change to their existing opinion. There is no regulation on who puts up a website that expresses their opinion. However you should be mindful of the fact that a small group of dissenters whose opinion is in conflict with the IPCC does not automatically mean that the IPCC is wrong. A person must look at the issues, look at who is expressing a given viewpoint, and make choices/decisions based on the credentials/expertise/numbers of the various groups. Under that approach I believe that the IPCC is the world's foremost authority on the subject of what is causing the current rapid observable changes in the Earth's climate.


Jack & Co. --


What can we as individuals do about the climate change problem? That is an excellent question. A motto of organizations seeking to deal with the problem is "Think globally, act locally."


There is no magic bullet. Some steps can be done by private citizens by making changes in their personal lives. Many needed steps must be taken by business and industry. Other needed major steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions must be done by countries, states, counties, and cities/towns. Successfully dealing with a problem of the scope and complexity of global climate change will require study, planning, attitude adjustments, and changes at all levels of society. We collectively got ourselves into this problem and we need to work collectively to solve it.


An individual can make changes in his/her own life. You mentioned several measures that you have taken to minimize your energy consumption. That is an admirable attitude. There are other areas where the private citizen cannot personally make needed changes. In such matters it becomes very important for the person to campaign and lobby for changes that must be made by governments, institutions, and businesses.


An important part of actually getting positive changes made in the climate change arena is to sell the need for those changes to the general public. There is a very strong tendency for people to want to sit around in a fat, dumb, and happy mode rather than face up to the need for major changes in society and their own personal lives. So it becomes a real education task to convince people that the long term risk of doing nothing is very likely to produce a catastrophe that will be far more costly and painful than the discomfort of making needed changes now.


To further explain what I am saying, consider your private automobile. You can and should keep it properly tuned up. You can seek to minimize the miles you drive by doing multiple tasks/errands in one trip. You can ride public transportation whenever possible. You can ride a bicycle where that is practical and safe.


What you almost certainly cannot do is re-engineer your car to make it more fuel efficient. The fuel efficiency of your car was determined by the auto-maker who built it. If it gets 18 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, then that's what you will get for as long as you drive that car. If you have the misfortune to own a big SUV that gets 10 mpg city, 16 mpg highway, then you won't be able to change that.


While you can't change the fuel efficiency of your existing car, you can educate yourself about what is possible (in the way of excellent fuel efficiency) and you can lobby Congress and auto manufacturers to greatly improve the fuel efficiency of new cars being sold.


Consider the fuel efficiency of cars sold in Europe. For many years the price of gasoline has been in the $5 to $7 range per gallon. Is it any wonder that the average car sold in Europe gets far better gas mileage than the cars sold in the USA?


One of my favorites is the Fiat Panda. Fiat is based in Italy and its cars are not sold in the USA. Fiats were sold here in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but they fell into disfavor as the American buying public wanted more horsepower and speed. The excellent fuel economy of the Fiat was not enough of a selling point to allow them to prosper in the USA marketplace.


Fiat is sold in the United Kingdom, and you can check out the Fiat Panda here. The Panda with a 1.3 liter diesel engine will get about 70 mpg on the highway, and about 50 mpg in the city. It has a top speed of 99 mph, and it is available with air conditioning. Wouldn't it be nice to get that kind of gas mileage, especially when gas costs $3 per gallon or more?


Fiat, with its Panda, has already proven that a comfortable, efficient car with excellent fuel economy can be built and sold. But that doesn't come without some trade-offs. The USA consumer needs to give up the idea that a car must go 0-60 mph in 9 seconds (or less) and have a top speed of 120 mph.


I strongly believe that the United States Congress should mandate that all new cars sold in the USA must get high (Fiat-Panda-type) gas mileage. That would totally change the new car market in the USA. Obviously such changes could not be done overnight -- a five or six year phased approach would be necessary for US auto makers to bring the new product to market. Co-incidentally, that would also reduce the amount of foreign oil that the USA imports to power is current fuel-wasting fleet of private vehicles.


This approach may sound radical. Okay, I agree that it is radical. But I believe that the foregoing is the kind of action that is needed to make a meaningful reduction in USA greenhouse gas emissions produced by automobiles. We are way past the time of having any simple, easy fixes that would have a major impact on the problem. Drastic action is the only approach that has a chance of being successful in significantly reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.


How can the above-described type of action be accomplished? It will only be possible if a significant percentage of the US buying public demands fuel efficient vehicles (like the Panda). It will only happen if Congress understands that the pain to the American public from this type of change will be far less than the pain caused by sea level rising 25 feet. We need to educate the general public one person at a time, and then have those newly educated people become activists in the furthering of the cause to mitigate global climate change.


In addition to private cars, there are many other areas where people can make changes and lobby for changes that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But my fingers are tired for now, so any further comments will have to be presented in another post.



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When you can haul six 1100 pound round bales with a Fiat Panda, plus fit four dogs and two kids and a six foot tall husband in the cab, I'll be first in line to buy one.

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When you can haul six 1100 pound round bales with a Fiat Panda, plus fit four dogs and two kids and a six foot tall husband in the cab, I'll be first in line to buy one.
And I'll be right behind you!


(sitting here picturing what the Panda would look like full of sheep...)

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Hector this might be a dumb question and I could certainly get info somewhere else, but-

I have been hearing alot about bio-diesel, would using this fuel cut down on emissions too?


By the way I don't entirely believe the whole global warming thing I tend to lean the other way, but I do think we need to do something else.

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Rebecca --

Obviously there are applications, such as the one you described, where a person must have a truck.


I haven't seen any data on the incidence of truck usage in rural vs. urban areas, but it seems logical that rural (farm-ranch) dwellers are more likely to need a truck in order to haul stuff. If you live on a farm, but commute to a job in a town, then the Panda would make a great commuter vehicle


In the urban setting where I live, weekday rush hour traffic is heavily weighted to commuters and most of those vehicles carry the driver only.


I was just now looking around the Internet and I found (in the UK) the Toyota Dyna Dropside Van (truck). It has a 2.5 liter Diesel engine that produces 88 horsepower. It is said to get good gas mileage, but the website does not give a figure.


I also saw a Fiat truck with a crew cab that holds 7 people. It has an engine similar to the Toyota. When you think about it, many people in Europe need trucks just as people in the USA need them, But when they are paying $7 a gallon for fuel, they don't want an American-style full-size pickup that gets 12 mpg city, 20 mpg highway. There are fuel efficient trucks in Europe, just as there are fuel efficient cars there.


If gasoline were costing you $4 or $5 a gallon (could easily happen in the next five years) then I am thinking that you would be very happy to have a truck like this Toyota, rather than a current American full-size pickup with 300 hp in a V8 engine. The attitude of Americans will have to make a major change to get people to want to buy trucks like the Toyota instead of full-size GMCs, Fords and Chevs. A big new tax on gasoline might quickly promote that attitude change.



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If gasoline were costing you $4 or $5 a gallon (could easily happen in the next five years) then I am thinking that you would be very happy to have a truck like this Toyota, rather than a current American full-size pickup with 300 hp in a V8 engine.
Got one. Well, my dad does. Gets in the ballpark of 30 mpg. I can use it for some things, but not for others. Try getting up a hill in a toyota with 10 lambs in the back. I'm very glad I can borrow my granparents Ford 250 at times. When travling in a truck, I try to combine trips, and many of the farmers around here do the same


Another problem with owning more that one vehicle is the cost! Insurance alone costs at least an extra $60/month. And what about the extra car payments?


A big new tax on gasoline might quickly promote that attitude change
It might. Or it might financialy strain alot of people. I do minimum driving, and I'm currently a working student. If gas cost me an extra $30 a week, it would be coming right out of my retirement/first home savings account. Or maybe I could no longer afford to care for my animals. Wouldn't it make more sense to tax luxury SUVs and offer tax incentives to energy efficient car buyers?



I think you're looking at this issue from just one side. I agree that we need to limit our consummtion and explore alternatives. But just swaping out all the vehicles or doubling the price of gas is not the answer. I think the answer lies more in a change of attitude in consumption in general in all areas, not just gas. And it's got to be a personal thing, not government mandated.

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I dont normally participate in political type discussions, but I just wanted to pipe in on the bio-diesel. We have a plant here in New Kent, and I think its a great alternative. The President actually visited us last year , to draw more attention to the industry. Its burns so much cleaner than other fuels.

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A big new tax on gasoline might quickly promote that attitude change.
Or it will just hurt family farmers and quietly put them out of business, as every other type of change of this nature does. You forget that maybe we don't have the spare cash lying around to change our $1500 farm truck (or less) for a $30,000 brand new machine that doesn't have near the power or capacity.


The factory farms, on the other hand, will easily take a rapid rise in gas prices in stride, simply passing the cost on to you in food prices and taxes required to support their subsidies and "price support". You've got to buy food somewhere - I betcha you won't buy it from family farmers who offer it for three times as much as the agribusinesses.

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Originally posted by Hector:

If gasoline were costing you $4 or $5 a gallon (could easily happen in the next five years) then I am thinking that you would be very happy to have a truck like this Toyota, rather than a current American full-size pickup with 300 hp in a V8 engine.

Hi Hector,


If I didn't need a full-sized pickup I wouldn't have one - It's no fun to pay $100 for a full tank of diesel. But the fact remains that the Toyota Dyna has only just over 100 horsepower. There's no way that it could haul a gooseneck flatbed loaded with 5 or 10 tons of hay.


The Toyota seems to have ample payload capacity, which is cool, but I seriously doubt it has enough horsepower (102) and torque (191 lb.-ft.) to pull much of a trailer.


To do what I can do in one-trip with my (325 HP/560 lb.-ft.) pickup pulling a big trailer it may-well take me 10 or more trips in something like the Dyna.


So really, while it's convenient to cite mileage to bolster your case, efficiency has to be measured relative to work performed. MPG simply doesn't do that. Fuel economy - to be fair - has to be measured relative to work performed. I suspect those numbers aren't so convenient for people who rail against the big American pickup trucks.

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We barely all fit in our minivan! I am assuming that two hybrid cars would use more than one minivan (if we drove separate). I want a hybrid van! (4 kids, (with two carseats) two dogs, three cats, and dh), also frequently adding a friend or my grandma to the mix.

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Firchow -

I understand what you are saying about needing a large powerful truck to pull a trailer with a big load on it. I agree completely. For that application the big truck is the most economical vehicle to use. No argument there.


The problem I see, from a fuel efficiency standpoint, is that a lot of drivers buy and drive big pickups when they don't need the hauling capacity. When I drive the Baltimore I-695 Beltway, I routinely see drivers commuting to work in their gas-hog pickups when they could be getting three or four times better gas mileage if they were driving a Fiat-Panda-type vehicle.


Maralynn --

I don't know where you are getting your 30-mpg figure for a V8 pickup truck, but I think you need to check that data. If you really want to know the actual mileage you would have to track that yourself (buy the gas) for a week.


Consumer Reports does road tests of vehicles, and here is the mpg that they got: In their actual test of a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado LS crew cab 4WD, 3.5-liter Five-cylinder engine, 4-speed automatic transmission, CR got the following gas mileage results:

Overall mileage, mpg 16

city/highway, mpg 11/23

150-mile trip, mpg 19


CR published the following:


Drivers who track their own fuel economy have long known that their results seldom match the gas mileage claimed by the Environmental Protection Agency on new-car stickers. Our study, based on years of real-world road tests over thousands of miles, quantifies the problem across a wide swath of makes and models.


We compared the claimed EPA fuel economy with the mileage per gallon we measured for 303 cars and trucks for model-years 2000 to 2006. Our selection represents a good cross-section of mainstream, high-volume vehicles. We looked at city, highway, and overall mpg.


Study Highlights:


Shortfalls in mpg occurred in 90 percent of vehicles we tested and included most makes and models.


The largest discrepancy between claimed and actual mpg involved city driving. Some models we tested fell short of claimed city mpg by 35 to 50 percent.


Hybrids, whose selling point is fuel thriftiness, had some of the biggest disparities, with fuel economy averaging 19 mpg below the EPA city rating.


For the nation, where the fleet average fuel economy is near its lowest point in 17 years, the findings suggest that the country is far short of its energy goals.


Actual MPG test results: Pickups (crew cab, 4WD)


Toyota Tacoma TRD (V6) 17-mpg

GMC Canyon SLE (5-cyl.) 16-mpg

Chevrolet Colorado LS (5-cyl.) 16-mpg



Dodge Ram 1500 SLT V8 (5.7) 11-mpg

Dodge Ram 1500 SLT (4.7) 12-mpg





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Our farm has looked into growing crops for bio-diesel instead of corn and green beans, because we have had some issues with the cannery. But we can't make enough money off of it to break even.


I too have a chevy truck. I looked into a chevy Colorado, but it was cramped and couldn't pull my horse trailer.

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