Ski Touring News Roundup – March 2017

Post by blogger | March 14, 2017      

Back to a little bit of trad blogging. Links and comments from the greater web.

Experiments in carbon airbag cylinder shipping, continuation. This attempt at simply mailing

Experiments in carbon airbag cylinder shipping, continuation. This attempt at simply mailing from Austria was a fail. One wonders if a more ‘informal’ postal system (Italy?) would be a better bet.

Near Wildsnow home base, Aspen is hosting the alpine ski racing Worldcup finals. That’s the last races of the season, where they award the overall titles and some of the closer rivalries are decided. Racers such as Marcel Hirscher and Mikaela Shiffrin have it pretty much sewed up, but others will be battling.

Shiffrin is always worth watching. Her amazing ability to win slalom races by full seconds is astounding in these days of split second contests. I’d imagine she probably drives other racers (and coaches) crazy when they try and figure out how she does it. Denver post online is cluttered and difficult to read, but let all their junk load and this article is informative. Clearly, the coolest thing about Aspen’s races is you can spectate a major part of World Cup in a much smaller crowd than the riotous mobs of Europe.

Ever travel coast-to-coast and get your sleep schedule a bit messed up? Or fly across the globe and truly suffer from jetlag? In my case, I do fine going from Colorado to European Union. On the other hand, I have a lot of trouble adjusting when I return, flying east to west. I’ve never been entirely sure why that is, latest theory is I don’t have a 9-2-5 job that forces me back into a normal sleep pattern.

While the west to east trips enable “fooling” my internal clock by napping on the jet for eight hours or so, with eye covers, then having a coffee during the traditional “shutters up, let there be LIGHT” routine before landing, and deplaning to morning in Munich. My mystification about jetlag is resolved, or at least I hope so. This article in the NYT did the trick.

Um, Vogue magazine finally found a hut in the United States that up to their standards. The author worries she might have been converted into a “hut snob.” She got published in Vogue. I guess she put two and two together. More here.

At the moment, I’m sitting in Santa Barbara, California, enjoying warm seaside weather and lush greenery from recent rains (family visit). The breaking of California’s desperate drought got me thinking about global warming and the future of our mountain snowpack. As per my usual, upon surveying the amount of money and talk devoted to GW I’m not impressed by how far the needle has moved, if at all.

In GW news: EPA budget cuts. Interestingly, in this article it’s explained how a significant amount of EPA work involves _adapting_ to climate change consequences. Likewise, EPA’s own website specifically addresses adaptation. Funding higher elevation skiing is not mentioned.

Continuing my thoughts on GW, I found it interesting that the common journalistic narrative in articles such as this seems to assume EPA is somehow doing huge work in global warming reversal. Get that? Adaptation vs human engineered climate change reversal. We clearly need both, but in what balance? I’m seeing intellectual stirrings alluding to the fact it might be immoral to spend excessive money on inconsequential attempts to change the climate (look ma, see my solar panels?), while we could devote greater parts (or even all) of that to helping people who will be horribly affected by little events such as the ocean rising two meters — or the snow line rising thousands of meters. Look ma, see my high elevation ski lift?


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


131 Responses to “Ski Touring News Roundup – March 2017”

  1. XXX_er March 14th, 2017 1:37 pm

    I could never sleep on a plane but I figured out that I just wasnt flying long/far enough cuz I was able to sleep on the 2nd leg of a trip to SE asia

  2. Lou Dawson 2 March 14th, 2017 4:55 pm

    The eye shades look weird but they work. Apparently your sleep “instinct” is super sensitive to light. Glass of wine, eye shades, noise canceling earbuds with some nice music, it’s much easier to zone out, perhaps half a Zanex to top it off. Join the throng of stoners on the jet, if you will (grin). Lou

  3. Greg March 14th, 2017 6:54 pm

    Also, the World Cup Finals for nordic skiing are this weekend in Quebec! We are flying out from Utah for a weekend of eating Poutine and watching people suffer.

  4. Paul Diegel March 14th, 2017 7:18 pm

    Careful about getting back into the global warming discussion. Certainly we need to be thinking about and working towards adaptation – it is clear that we have tough times ahead of us regardless of what action we take to slow the rate of human-caused global warming. And it also appears that many (most?) humans lack the will/wisdom/something to take action to slow the rate of global warming. But the first response when you find yourself in a deepening hole is to quit digging. Adaptation merely puts off the inevitable if we don’t take steps to reduce our production of greenhouse gasses. Regarding the EPA, they have the capability to do great good and to take the lead on fighting the greatest problem our species has ever faced. Our “leaders” have carefully limited their ability to exercise that capability, though. And reversing global warming involves the willingness to take on some personal sacrifice and risk, a trait that seems increasingly rare.

  5. Kristian March 14th, 2017 7:58 pm

    My guess is that Global Warming will be acted on when ocean levels start rising into expensive real estate. Meanwhile, too bad for critters like Pikas that have a relatively narrow window of altitude and climate.

  6. See March 14th, 2017 8:14 pm

    So Lou, do you have any basis for stating that conservation, alternative energy, etc. are “inconsequential,” or is this still just a hunch on your part?

  7. Lou2 March 14th, 2017 9:27 pm

    Everything i read says planet is warming like crazy and a lot of it says so much co2 etc in atmosphere nothing can stop the warming other than perhaps volcanic event. You reading different?

  8. Eric steig March 14th, 2017 10:46 pm

    The EPA was in position to help put a price on carbon, hence pushing innovation towards greater efficiency and alternatives to fossil fuels. This wasn’t much but under the right leadership it could have grown and had a significant impact, lowering co2 emissions and buoying the economy simultaneously. Under Trump, that won’t happen.

    Example: at mt baker ski area the number of bad years fir snow, which is now 1/10 will be 8/10 by 2100 or sooner. Under Paris accords we easily could have reduced that risk to 4/10. Adaptation is important, but mitigation is not a joke, nor a pipe dream, scientifically. It’s simply a lack of political will.

    By the way, volcanic impacts are short lived.

  9. See March 15th, 2017 3:42 am

    Clearly warming is taking place. However, I strongly disagree with your contention, Lou, that all our efforts to devise a solution are inconsequential. As bad as it is, it could be worse.

    Reducing carbon emissions is a step in the right direction, with added bonuses like cleaner air, technological development, etc.. I would argue that skis are so light these days thanks in part to technologies developed to conserve fuel.

  10. dmr March 15th, 2017 4:20 am

    Flights from the US West to Europe usually leave in the morning and arrive in the morning or early afternoon. So if you don’t take a nap right away and go to sleep at a normal time, it’s usually easy to adjust (at least for me – plus I’m able to sleep the entire flight).

    As far as global warming goes:

  11. Paddy March 15th, 2017 5:44 am

    Lou, in the last year, you’ve gone from “we’ve got to find a technological solution to climate change”, to “we’ve got to just give up and learn to live with it.” But you do seem to consistently be against actually trying to do anything about it at an individual or even national (political) level. Which is extremely disappointing from some one who’s livelyhood is based around snow.

  12. Wellington Oxford March 15th, 2017 8:18 am

    “Regarding the EPA, they have the capability to do great good and to take the lead on fighting the greatest problem our species has ever faced.”

    Honestly, the EPA is one of the most self-defeating, wormhole-laden, captured-by-its-regulated-industries entities in the US Govt. Always has been. But they have a decent PR department in the NY Times etc.

    I worked in enviro planning in my youth, interacted w/ EPA a lot in that capacity, and found them useless and stodgy, and bloated with middle management in every corner.

    If you want to have a serious discussion on any subject related to the env’t, being honest about the EPA is always a good starting point. Being honest about state and local govt enviro entities is also wise. But most wise of all is being honest about every human’s selfishness and ideological blindspots.

  13. Wellington Oxford March 15th, 2017 8:25 am

    “Reducing carbon emissions is a step in the right direction.”

    This is a good example of the NY Times PR wing of EPA talking.

    Carbon emissions foci won’t do a thing, nor will planting “carbon sinks” as some disinfo people suggest.

    Staying with environmental chemistry is a good idea, however.

  14. Eric Steig March 15th, 2017 9:28 am

    At the risk of extending a conversation that is quickly becoming political (which is quite beside the point), I want to note a few factual things:

    1) Whether EPA is overly bureaucratic or not (I’ve little doubt it is), the fact that it was able to regulate CO2 (even though it had barely done that) was already having an impact on where industry was heading.

    2) Industry dislikes regulation, but what it hates even more is lack of stability in regulation. Most industries know that carbon taxes or something like that are in the future, and are planning for it; the smarter industries are unlikely to change course just because the current US Adminstration is telling them they can do whatever they want.

    3) The way to regulate carbon properly is a legitimate subject of debate. Simply claiming “it won’t work” is not a meaningful contribution to that debate. For my part, I’m unconvinced by “carbon trading” schemes, and — as someone else noted above — doing things like planting trees, while it might be good for other reasons, is not going to have much impact. All the economists I know, who work on this subject, believe that a revenue-neutral carbon tax is the way to go. Unfortunately, use of the word “tax” will make it politically impossible.

    So maybe in the end I agree with Lou that there is nothing we can do. But it’s not because there is nothing to be done. It’s because too many of us believe there is nothing to be done.

    For those interested in serious research on all of these questions, track down my email and feel free to ask. I’d be happy to point you to some links.

  15. Wellington Oxford March 15th, 2017 9:36 am

    I’d be quite grateful if you’d not accuse me of playing politics, given that I have no political affinity. EPA has been inept no matter what party was in the White House, no matter what ideology its Administrator held.

    Partisan people tend to think their party’s EPA is doing well, while the opposite party’s EPA was corrupt.

    As to the rest of your post, Mr Steig, it assumes many things which simply are not true — both as to “industry”, which is not monolithic in intent or attitude toward the question of regulation or the type proposed; and as to carbon regulation.

    Regulating carbon is a band-aid feel-good measure, not something the ecosystem wants or needs. It’s a human fix to assuage human concerns, and has little to do with an ecosystem analysis.

    The fact that “scientists” are engaged to study and report on carbon regulation suggests that it’s a cash cow, rather than a real topic of legitimate scientific pursuit.

    Again, I have no partisan axe to grind and no party’s brief to carry or advance. I’m talking about gov’t operation, bureaucracy, human nature, and science. And I have a little experience in each of those things, for what it’s worth — as a matter of education & training, as a matter of genuine human curiosity, and finally, as a matter of employment and pay for my expertise.

  16. Kristian March 15th, 2017 9:52 am

    I personally know and have skimo’d with Dr. Steig. He is a lifetime climate professional expert. Also low key and pragmatic.

  17. Wellington Oxford March 15th, 2017 9:56 am

    “climate professional”

    What, exactly, is that? Someone who uses computer models to extrapolate political agenda points for his chosen ideology?

    When it comes to ecosystem holism, I don’t think a person who is a “climate professional” has any greater standing than our blog host or my own self.

    Whether you’ve skied with him has no bearing on what “climate professsionals” know, or whether they are omniscient, as you imply so eagerly.

    Most climate knowledge is 2d and 3d hand because atmospheric chemistry is fluid always, and spot data are all that one can grab.

    Perhaps our Mr Steig would like to talk about that.

  18. Matt Kinney March 15th, 2017 10:13 am

    While species evolution includes adaptation, that happens at a snails pace and over many generations. While humans have the smarts to adapt to global warming, other animal and plant species will not be so fortunate. Our warming will (or is) happening too fast for adaption through evolution. That a big difference compared to previous epochal warming or cooling periods, when all of our current species so beautifully evolved. They had the time. Not so much now.

    While we may be able to hold back the rising oceans with a human wall, the fish on the other side will be far fewer and diverse. We don’t have the energy capacity in this country to power the air-conditioners that will be needed. God forbid humans lose air-conditioning! Luckily If you are a cow, chicken or pig, you will have humans to help you survive. Our plant based foods will have the same challenges as our food will have to be grown in greenhouses because they will not be able to be grown outside due to severe storms. Human adaption which will mean massive( but slow) migration to the last habitable places on earth. Can I get a ride to Nova Scotia lou? Valdez will be warm and nice, but under water,

    Each and everyone of us should do everything we can do to lessen our carbon footprint. Use a calculator and use some formula to determine your own footprint and then track and lower it. It’s amazing how the small things add up, like useless consumerism. From the way we recreate to what we eat, it really does make a difference and don’t let others say it doesn’t. Small actions can be epidemic if the threat is serious enough to the human species.

    It’s not politics, it’s science.

  19. George Reed March 15th, 2017 10:16 am

    I finally make it to Colorado and your in SB. Enjoy

  20. Jack March 15th, 2017 12:31 pm

    Lou, I remember some protocols that were discussed in a Biology/Physiology class at university useful for moving your circadian cycle around (jet lag). They involve bright light (like, really bright solar-mimicing lights) and dipping into near-sleep. Good published science. I’ll research it when I have more time. My preferred reset is to get out and ski!! All I remember is that the hormonal systems are complicated!

  21. Bruno Schull March 15th, 2017 2:18 pm

    Lou, I also find it extremely disappointing that you continue to express your views about environmental issues in a misguided fashion. It seems that you can not restrain yourself from making allusions to one or another form of hypocrisy or cynicism that you believe deserve to be called out. Did you know that there is a recent thread on TGR from a regular WildSnow reader looking for alternative skiing sites, because they were fed up with your environmental stance? It’s an interesting read. Most people who responded agreed that you have always been an independent minded, somewhat cantankerous, free thinker. Great! I respect that. What bothers me is where and how you choose to deploy your considerable intellect and observations. For example, regarding the recent Bears Ears controversy, you choose to address the issue only in regards to the possibly hypocritical stance of companies who profess to be pulling out of the Utah show for environmental reasons when in fact market forces might also be at work. And most recently, here in this post, you choose to address the vast issue of global warming by suggesting that the EPA is ineffectual, that there is absolutely nothing that can be done to slow or stop the process, and that it is immoral to continue to try to do so instead of starting the difficult work of adapting for the worst. To emphasize, in the first case, compared to the tragedy that vast tracts of natural land could be privatized, and then inevitably turned into developments, condos, golf courses, highways, factories and so forth, I find it astonishing that you choose to point out that Patagonia might have ulterior motives. This is particularly rich because Patagonia is a true industry leader on environmental issues, as guests have pointed out in recent posts. Yes, Patagonia make money from their environmental stance, but why not? More power to them! In the second case, faced with current political situation, in which we have a director of the EPA who is an outspoken global warming denier, the very real immorality of doing nothing, and the blatant greed of the oil industry, you choose to make a fine point about where we should allocate our resources. This seems trivial. Moreover, is seems politically motivated. Moreover, I think it’s based on false premises. I believe there is much we can do to slow global warming. So I question why you choose to make these particular observations, and ignore the more obvious and glaring hypocrisy and amorality. It’s always dangerous to try to determine somebody’s motivations, but here’s my take. Perhaps you have always prided yourself on taking a different view, an independent view, a non-conformist view, a practical, what-can-we-do-right-now, no nonsense view. And perhaps you have always seen yourself as somebody who can reveal the superficial actions of others and intuit the real workings of the world. It’s probably an important part of your identity and personality. But I think that your desire to express contrary views has lead you to ignore more important truths. It’s both sad and ironic that your positions actually play directly into the hands of land developers and the oil industry–the very people and institutions that threaten what you profess to love, and which have given you a career and calling, namely, wilderness and wild snow. I was not the reader who started the aforementioned TGR thread. But I confess that I found that thread by searching for an alternative to WildSnow, precisely because of my feelings about your environmental stance. These are polarized times, and when you feel that something is important, perhaps voting with your wallet (or your clicks) is the best policy. But I returned to WildSnow, because I believe in dialogue, and I often learn much from people with different view than my own. I respect you as a person, but I don’t agree with your environment stance, or perhaps simply the way you choose to express it.

  22. Alex Silgalis March 15th, 2017 3:06 pm

    It’s fascinating your perspective on what the EPA is doing regarding climate change. I never thought about the idea of adaptation versus human engineered being something the EPA would ever involve itself but it’s a very good point. My question is then what should they do? Typically, I thought they’re an organization that makes sure the corporations to make sure they don’t break laws similar to the police.

  23. Jack March 15th, 2017 3:41 pm

    RE: adapting to jet lag, here’s an interesting ‘flashing lights’ approach. I”m not sure that it is supported by consumer lights, yet.

    Add me to the list of people who wish you would pursue a “let’s get active on climate change” approach.

  24. Lou Dawson 2 March 15th, 2017 5:05 pm

    Hi Bruno, main thing, you express your opinions quite well and they stand nicely in a comment. I’m comfortable with being a blogger who people don’t always agree with. I’m not sure how I could write a blog that everyone agreed with, come to think of it… Perhaps web forums are better for that, as person can write a starter post that takes a position, then if the reader agrees they can chime in with something they agree with, but otherwise simply ignore. Blogs don’t really work that way.

    Regarding GW, I’m as concerned as anyone, which I think all you guys get. My thoughts on paper are an effort to sort out and express opinions about what’s going on with GW because it so directly relates to skiing and mountains.

    The issue of mitigation version adaptation has become huge, and shifts quickly to ethics and morality. It needs to be discussed. I don’t claim to have answers, but I sure have opinions and questions, and will continue to write them up as a blogger.

    Paddy, I’m still interested in human engineered mitigation, such as the injection of chemicals into the atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong. My conjectures above are based on the assumption that isn’t happening. Perhaps it will.

    And again, am happy to give commenters the last word. Though yes, if it gets too crazy here with personal attacks, I’d ask you guys to take that somewhere else.


  25. Bard March 15th, 2017 6:21 pm

    The juxtaposition of jet lag and environmental policy is too much:)
    Great post Bruno!
    Unless we all get rid of cars, ac, jets to Europe, the ability to buy any kind of food whenever we want, etc., we are screwed! I have some consolation that the earth will heal itself after we have wiped out our own species. Is that wierd?

  26. Lou Dawson 2 March 15th, 2017 6:33 pm

    Bard, good point! I knew I had something going on there (smile). As for earth healing, if you heal it back to what, mid-Cretaceous, then that’s the real healing. Everything after that altered the original “pure” climate or so I’ve heard.


  27. Lou Dawson 2 March 15th, 2017 6:50 pm

    You guys want to read something interesting about climate change morality? I found this quite interesting, though it doesn’t seem to address the issue of “doing what works vs doing what feels good.”

  28. Bard March 15th, 2017 7:39 pm

    Interesting article Lou. I don’t think a great number of people give a damn about “the greater good”. Was that written by The David Roberts of Deborah, Wickersham Wall fame?

  29. Kristian March 15th, 2017 8:03 pm

    Lou you say this is a blog. But the obvious is that we are stepping all over that and using it as a forum.

    Your blog is wealthy resource of information which makes it much more than a blog.
    All of the other known backcountry blogger web sites are anemic by comparison. And much of TGR is a disaster.

    We all keep coming back. So… it might make sense to add a forum option with public known accounts only and/or pay for accounts only. Would be much greater web traffic.

    And to everyone else, many of us are weekend warriors with very different life experiences from someone like Lou that has lived it his whole life. So I at least, have to remind myself of that.

  30. Buck March 15th, 2017 8:57 pm

    Wellington : “Again, I have no partisan axe to grind and no party’s brief to carry or advance.”

    and also no point to make?
    so many words yet no substance.
    obfuscation and diversion via sheer volume.
    I feel the same way about a smelly toilet – I move away.
    you stink the place up, good job.

    “I worked in enviro planning in my youth, interacted w/ EPA a lot in that capacity, and *** found them useless and stodgy, and bloated***”

    the pot/kettle/blackness just reeks

  31. See March 15th, 2017 9:43 pm

    I didn’t appreciate the slurs on the EPA. I know a couple of people associated with that agency and they are smart, ethical people working hard to solve practical problems like cleaning up hazardous waste. Nobody’s perfect, but this casual slander against good people is offensive to me.

  32. ptor March 16th, 2017 12:33 am

    Hey everybody…Keep ignoring the artificial clouds every day. Do not wonder about microwave/elf installations worldwide. The military industrial complex cares about us and exploding hundreds of undersea and arctic high atmosphere nuclear devices is actually a holistic planetary therapy with no lasting effects. Don’t forget to continue your ignorance of orgone energy so you’re not chastised or ostracized by the guardians of ‘mainstream scientific knowledge’. Most importantly, remember to keep socially relevant by being an anthropocentric hypocrite and you will die happy with your smartphone embedded in your sarcophagus.

  33. Lou Dawson 2 March 16th, 2017 7:56 am

    See, I’ll keep an eye on the words here. We of course wouldn’t tolerate a slur on a person, but criticism of government agencies is something we have to allow to at least some degree, as they’re clearly not perfect. What people sometimes don’t understand is that while entities such as the US Forest Service and EPA are tasked with enforcing laws, they also are involved in rule making and subsequent actions that can be quite controversial and subject to vast interpretation — and thus open to our opinions. As for discussion here, yeah, the idea is to keep it related to ski touring, but since ski touring depends on snow, we have to address global warming.

    Kristian, we are indeed occasionally asked to implement a forum. I’ve moderated several forums over the years, and was the webmaster for a couple as well, tasked with both front end and back end. Forums take a huge amount of work, they’re a prime attack vector for criminals, and the action of trolls and bullies takes constant work from moderators unless you just let it go where it will. There are options, Turns all Year for example, who I don’t consider to be a competitor. Super Topo used to be pretty good as an alpinist version, but it appears to be something like TGR now, only worse as they can’t seem to get people to break out their irrelevant subjects into sub-forums. I just took a look, and they’re clearly having problems that perhaps presently make for a “fun” culture but are probably not sustainable.

    Obviously there is no perfect model for all this.


  34. Lou Dawson 2 March 16th, 2017 8:14 am

    BTW, Bruno and all, (and skipping out on my last word pledge for a moment) out of respect for you I went back and read my verbiage about GW in blog post above. When I wrote it, the idea was — as a blogger — to ponder the balance of mitigation vs adaptation in GW policy, funding, etc. I don’t understand why my writing about this very real and important issue would be such a bad thing. Perhaps my statement that I don’t see the needle moving on GW mitigation is the problem? Are you guys seeing something different, that planetary civilization is actually reversing global warming?

    I read on this extensively, and my understanding is we have had record growth in our CO2 levels in the past few years:

    The above link is not a hunch.

    Yes, that leads me to think the amount of money and talk devoted to mitigation is having no important effect — in other words, no effect. And yes, the logic trail leads me to think that perhaps we need more radical mitigation (climate engineering) or adaptation (higher elevation ski lifts). I honestly don’t understand why that logic would be so evil as to cause people to get their bristles so up. All I can think is that many of you perhaps hope that global warming would have already inspired a global shift to renewable energy that resulted in a sort of environmental utopia. In turn, this is clearly not happening any time soon if ever, you’re disappointed and appalled, and I’m the messenger you’re shooting at (smile)?

  35. See March 16th, 2017 8:38 am

    Aside from differences re. geoengineering, I take exception to your often repeated claim that efforts to reduce carbon emissions are having “no important effect.” In order to prove the point one way or another with regard to warming, we would have to be able to compare the world as it is now with a hypothetical world where no efforts were made, which is an exercise in speculation, (although I’m pretty sure the difference would not be negligible). However, benefits like a cleaner environment, technological development, etc. are not at all speculative. You may consider solar panels, etc. to be meaningless concessions to naive environmentalists, but I think they a genuine positive contribution to our world and our quality of life. And I suspect that you, Lou, have a fondness for the fossil fuel industry that you aren’t fully acknowledging in your gw posts.

  36. Lou Dawson 2 March 16th, 2017 8:58 am

    Hi See, thanks, no need for suspicion, I’ve spent a lot of money and time building our off-grid solar system. I’m fond of it, as well as the fossil fuel powered generator that operates when the batteries go dead. So you could say I have a fondness for it all. As for an exercise in speculation regarding the unprecedented amount of CO2 increase in the past few years, is that no different, or actually more solid of an observation, than the climate change models of the future, that we’re basing this whole discussion on? Lou

  37. See March 16th, 2017 9:05 am

    You don’t need a model of the future to see the effect, just look around. That’s not speculation, that’s observation. I’d really like to respond in greater detail, but I’ve got to go burn some fossil fuels.

  38. Lee March 16th, 2017 9:50 am

    I continue to be confused by your attempts to “smuggle” in a carbon air tank. Say you are successful. You have succeeded in getting one full tank in. The problem lies in that the tank is not fillable as far as I know in NA. So your tank is a 1 off use. Would you buy a second tank for testing that can be refilled? I would very much like to see the laws change in NA, but until they do I see little value in smuggling the tank in.

  39. Kristian March 16th, 2017 10:31 am

    Lee – they are non-refillable. And no one is smuggling.

  40. Jack March 16th, 2017 10:36 am

    Lou Dawson 2: Climate change is obviously a volatile topic. Would you consider adding a climate change discussion area to the site? Perhaps as a tab or in one of the pull downs on the landing page.

    The advantage to all would be a discussion that went where it went and more clarity in the main blog comments. A request to “take it to the climate change discussion” would be legitimate in any other blog entry.

  41. Lou Dawson 2 March 16th, 2017 11:26 am

    Jack, that’s a good idea. I’ll look at it. Perhaps I can get a scientist to write a blog post to get it started.

    Lee, indeed, nobody is smuggling, instead, my position is that the rules are confusing and open to interpretation, and the best way to find out what’s possible is to just make the attempt. And yes, the cylinders are not user refillable. They are a one-of use item (though they can be returned in Europe for a fill, which as far as I know is not exactly cheap). I know quite a few people that are happy to use them and know that when they pull they’ll be paying $128 in an attempt to save their life, and they’re ok with that. Refillable cylinders cost money as well, and time.

    Also with these blog posts, we’re simply, blogging about trying different ways of getting a cylinder, because blogging is, simply, a journal about what a person might be doing…

    I hope that helps with some of your confusion about the matter. If nothing else, you can read about me and the ever elusive black cylinders simply as a humorous endeavor with no practical purpose (smile), or just ignore…


  42. Kristian March 16th, 2017 11:49 am

    Mammut now lists them as non-refillable.

  43. Lou Dawson 2 March 16th, 2017 11:55 am

    That actually makes more sense, and also opens things up more logically for worldwide use. Lou

  44. RDE March 16th, 2017 10:00 pm

    My personal opinion goes beyond your observation that efforts to reduce carbon emissions are having no noticeable effect. I’ve concluded that the patterns of social ideology that the human species has evolved as a consequence of developing the industrial and technological world we live in preclude any action at a scale sufficient to address the problem we have created. For all their individual brilliance, as a species humans are indeed no smarter than yeast.

    On the other hand, decisions do have consequences. Study the history of nuclear energy since its inception for a clear example. In the 1960’s the basic designs for two types of nuclear reactor were developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. As a matter of fact one individual, Alvin Weinburg, is credited with both the design of the light water reactor that is now in universal use, and the liquid fluoride thorium reactor that ran successfully for several years before the program was cancelled. One type is an engineering nightmare that must be continually monitored and actively cooled or it will run away to self destruction and release a poisonous cloud of radiation, sterilizing the immediate area and increasing the incidence of cancer over much of the globe. It only burns 5% of the available fuel, leaving wastes that remain toxic for thousands of years, and is so expensive to build that it only is viable through massive government subsidy. But it does have one bi-product that made it the winner of the competition– it produces plutonium that is necessary for making bombs.

    The alternative design automatically shuts down cold even if everyone simply walks away. It requires no massive containment vessels, no “swimming pools” full of hot fuel rods still containing most of their radioactivity, burns up 95% of its fuel, is powered by an element so common as to be found in ordinary beach sand, and is so inherently safe that it could be built on an assembly line. But it is no good for making bombs.

    Guess which design powers all of our nuclear power plants?

    Rulers and their subjects make decisions based upon personal power and greed, not upon wisdom or concern for the planet or future generations. And they will continue to do so until they destroy our only home. With the rate of climate change we are now witnessing in the high Arctic finding a small patch of snow to ski on will not be a concern of our grandchildren.

  45. Lou Dawson 2 March 17th, 2017 9:58 am

    It’s easy to indulge in pessimism, and eschatology can be fun, but everything I study (based on what makes sense as indicators) tells me that humans as a species are doing better than ever. I think extrapolating that we will reach our sad demise is a bit of a reach. Moreover, there is _always_ a threat on the horizon. Again, you can decide that threat is imminent and quite likely, or take a positive view.

    The logical conclusion based on what we see around us (industrial civilization) is that when people have perceived threats they’ve done something about it, like building stronger walls on their fort, or whatever. Hence, I continue to think that the human race will adapt to global warming, even if we don’t come together to prevent it (though, scientists tell us it is now inevitable, unless we geoengineer). As for the threat of nuclear winter and reactor blow ups, it appears those things are being addressed to one degree or another. For example, German nuclear phase-out is not exactly a small thing (smile).

    As with any person who has an ounce of compassion, I’d like to see the downtrodden of the world lifted up. And there are of course many of those. But this thing of thinking for certain that the world is just one big rotten mess, way worse than ever and headed to the dung heap, seems illogical and perhaps even self indulgent.

  46. Kristian March 17th, 2017 5:03 pm

    This planet is getting dangerously close to a tipping point with subsequent acceleration that no global engineering could remedy.

    Permafrost comprises 24% of the land in the Northern Hemisphere, and stores massive amounts of carbon. As a result of climate change, permafrost is at risk of melting, releasing the stored carbon in the form of carbon dioxide and methane, which are powerful heat-trapping gases.

    I agree that individual efforts on a planet of almost 8 billion people, are relatively ineffectual.

  47. Matt Kinney March 18th, 2017 11:37 am

    I don’t agree that “individual efforts” do no good. That an excuse for laziness or that you don’t want to do your part. It’s too hard for most of our spoiled masses to give something up like a big car, huge house or a carbon guzzling heli-ski vacation, leaving it to others to make sacrifices who really have nothing left to sacrifice.

    How about climbers taking helis to base camp on Everest versus walking a few extra days? That is simply wrong on so many levels. Seriously I’ve cut to the bone my carbon footprint( and could do more.) because II want to help! Some just simply ignore doing any effort that may be perceived as a liberal fantasy. They do so at their grandchildren’s risk and with full ignorance that confounds many of us.

    Seriously I get upset when I realize I forgot my reusable grocery bags to avoid plastic. I walk or ride my bike back home and get them and return to the store. Will it make a difference? Perhaps not. But I’m damn well trying lou. Try not to demean the efforts of those who do the small things as useless, like picking up litter.

    I think Lou lives more green than he reveals and thus I find it hard to questions him at any level about his carbon footprint. I thought this site was going toxic when he got the sled a few years back, but when was the last time he filed any report using his sled? His lifetime of alpinism is hard to question and for him to escape.

    Or we could wait for political intervention. Lou wants billions spent on geoengineering? I say we go after those in society who are most wasteful of our precious resources first. That begins with a progressive carbon tax that steepens as you consume more. Filling up your F350 truck with gas you bought only to tow sleds or cut firewood once a year? You pay more. Fueling up those four $12,000 gas guzzling sleds your pulling for recreation on public lands? You going to pay a lot, lot more. You consume ridiculous amount of carbon building a 4000sq ft home for your family of 2, your gonna pay a penalty. Then you can build a house at whatever size you want, but you are going to pay society back for your carbon consumerism.

    Should Lou create a separate discussion forum? NO!

  48. RDE March 18th, 2017 12:30 pm

    The Audacity of Hope

    I’d have to say that comparing the act of building a stronger wall around the Lord’s castle to adapting to a world where climate change and human impact is creating an extinction event that puts 50% of the planet’s species at at immediate risk is delusional.
    Perhaps I should have placed more emphasis upon the difference between the technology we call nuclear power (using uranium fission to heat water, then holding that water at extreme pressure to prevent it boiling and causing a hydrogen explosion which disables the reactor safety measures) at a cost measured in billions of dollars per plant and the alternative that was rejected in favor of making more bombs.

    LFTR reactors have the potential to replace burning coal and natural gas as the primary base load means of generating electricity, and at a cost in dollars and environmental impact far lower than burning fossil fuels or damming the few remaining free flowing rivers. The fact that the technology has not been developed and implemented is an example of how humans make decisions in the real world.

    Shutting down conventional nuclear power plants (Germany) and replacing them with burning coal imported from Australia, natural gas from Russia, or intermittent wind from Denmark is no long term solution to the power needs of an industrial civilization. Renewable energy suffers from two fatal limitations: low energy density and intermittancy. It could power an entirely different kind of human civilization on the planet– one with perhaps 2 billion members, but not an endlessly growing industrial/consumerist society of 8-12 billion eaters.

    Pessimism or realism? Fifteen years ago a high level conference on Energy & the Environment. was held in Jackson WY. During an open forum I had the audacity to ask the then Governor how log it would take before 50% of the Co2 produced by burning Wyoming’s coal could be sequestered if there were an unlimited budget to do so. His answer: “I have no idea.” The answer in the real world: 0%. During the same conference the international chairman of the IPCC delivered the keynote speech. He reported upon the scientific consensus concerning future PPM of Co2 in the atmosphere and Arctic sea ice coverage. As it turns out only the most fringe scientists out of the thousands represented in the report actually anticipated the rate of change we are witnessing only a few years later.

    Pessimism or realism?

  49. Lou Dawson 2 March 18th, 2017 2:25 pm

    Guess which state has the fourth highest carbon emissions per capita? Alaska! Probably because of heli skiing (smile)? Colorado is way better, so whatever I’m not doing with my sled must be having an effect (smile).

    Matt, (sorry about the AK comment above, I could not resist, but I refrained from mention of reusable shopping bags). Thanks for the comment, your usual strongly stated position that is a terrific contribution. I’d caution you to avoid the “my carbon is less than your carbon” type of conversation. It really leads nowhere, as everyone’s needs are different. For example, a logger cutting hazard trees hanging over an EV charging station might need a big truck, or a person in hospital intensive care for months on end clearly has a huge carbon footprint due to the resources both human and material expended on their behalf. Are we going to start labeling hospital beds with their daily carbon footprint? Or start harassing parents who’s kids live farther from school than others who are carbon saints because they burn less gasoline carpooling? Clearly, the only way to look at carbon is how much a larger _group_ such as a country or society produces, not individuals.

    As for the concept of doing something even though the overall effect is nearly nothing, I think that deserves a lot of philosophical thought. Other examples abound. For example, signing petitions that don’t in the end have any effect. Or, depending on what side you’re on at a given time, voting (smile)!? Or donating money to causes that don’t move the needle, rather than vetting the real-world influence of a charitable organization before giving them money?

    In any case, there is a very real moral conundrum going on here, that is being discussed and written about by very bright people. Again, that’s whether overall mitigation might be a little to little to late, and more resources should be shifted over to adaptation.

    BTW, did anyone notice in the news the U.S. carbon footprint leveled off this past year (which doesn’t really mean much IMHO since we make a huge amount)? Due they say to President Obama supported policies against coal, that shifted power to natural gas produced by fracking. I found that to be rather interesting, and perhaps even ironic. Reminds me of the fact that a country can become a carbon saint by shifting to atomic power. Or dam all their rivers and make hydro. The solutions are of course available…

    Always fun to see who’s making the carbon, apparently Australia makes more carbon per capita than those of us in the U.S., perhaps they need to do more fracking?


  50. RDE March 18th, 2017 6:02 pm

    Everyone who has contributed to this discussion should be commended on the level of civility that has prevailed while discussing a topic that is a flash point for many in a divided society. Which brings me to a point I wanted to make clear.

    Lou, I have no doubt in my mind that you are a conscientious individual who has chosen a life path that brings knowledge and awareness of the natural world. My use of the term delusional to describe your idea of adaptation to climate change is not meant as a personal criticism.

    I recently read an interesting essay in which the author categorized two forms of climate denialism. The first he called hard denialism— the kind practiced by our ***** — that follows the infantile logic of “I don’t believe that humans influence climate so therefore climate change doesn’t exist”. The second form is called soft denialism— the kind most prevalent. It goes something like this: “They” will come up with a way to solve the climate problem so we can continue just like now, only with more stuff. After all, look at how marvelous computers and cell phones are.” “Sustained exponential growth is mathematically impossible? The ecosystem has limits? Running out of oil?– we’ll just use something else. Anyway, its not my problem.”

    ps Wyoming wins the carbon black hat contest hands down if you consider production per capita rather than where it ends up being burned.

  51. Lou Dawson 2 March 18th, 2017 6:29 pm

    RDE, thanks for your thoughts, please use non inflammatory terms for our country’s President. Best is just their last name if you want to not appear too reverential. We generally call Obama, Obama, let’s do the same with Trump. It appears unpleasantly snarky to be coming up with trite ad hominem attacks on the President, and engenders the type of incendiary rhetoric we don’t allow here.

    As for me, I guess I’m religious apostate and practice some offshoot of the main denialism doctrine — mine is probably one of thousands of variations of the belief system of denialism. Like, OMG, he actually thinks that since we accidentally engineered the atmosphere, perhaps we can intentionally engineer it again!? Such logic should be a sin! It just doesn’t make sense the way using reusable shopping bags does! On the other hand, I’ve also practiced denial once in a while when it comes to believing I’m seeing a flashing light in my rearview., and it wasn’t an ism. Seriously, it sounds like your essay author has come up with some handy terms for people who don’t think exactly like he does. There is no tried and true climate doctrine here that I’m aware of, lot’s of variations and things worth discussing.


  52. RDE March 18th, 2017 6:38 pm

    re Obama & Fracking:

    The business model for hydraulic fracking is that of a Ponzi scheme enabled by free money at zero interest rates. I could write an entire essay explaining how the scheme works, but if you want you can educate yourself and come to your own conclusions.

    The purpose of holding the cost of money at near zero rates for years during the Obama presidency was twofold:
    1- prop up the stock market which enriches the 1% who own almost all of stocks, and the “investment banks” (AKA casinos) who create and market derivatives as tools for gambling with other people’s money and skimming off the top.
    2- Transfer wealth from savers and workers to the privileged few. (the same captains of finance who created and owned Obama from the start)

    That fracked natural gas became competitive with coal was an accidental bi-product of Obama and Goldman Sacs financial manipulation, certainly not a product of good intentions. The world is not always as it seems!

  53. RDE March 18th, 2017 6:49 pm

    No problem, Lou

    And I also have no objection if you choose to delete my last post. In retrospect it wanders too far off topic from what is after all a blog about skiing on natural snow.

    Hope your season in Colorado doesn’t piddle off into spring rain like ours is threatening to do in the Tetons.

  54. Lou Dawson 2 March 18th, 2017 6:56 pm

    RDE, yeah, please help us keep all this related to skiing and snow. It was necessary to mention fracking as when relating the leveling off of our carbon footprint it should be clarified that we didn’t suddenly cover half of Texas with solar panels. Plus, a bit of irony spices up the prose.

    I think the diversity of opinion about the planet and humanity’s future is a healthy discussion, we all need to look back at the history of science and “futurism” and realize that it’s an imperfect endeavor and thus any sort of doctrine should be suspect and undergo rigorous logical and philosophical examination. People have been predicting the end of the world since they tried to predict when an enemy caveman tribe would attack their campfire. They were not always right. The doctrine of preemptive caution can be a force for good, or evil — or just make us look stupid. Lou

  55. Kristian March 18th, 2017 10:29 pm

    Scientists including Dr Steig have cored ice from Antartica and elsewhere. The cores are an historical record of the Earth’s past atmospheres.

    The core samplings show a direct correlation between the extraordinary rise in green house gases and global warming. Shorter winters, retreating glaciers, reduced polar sea ice, expanding deserts, record high temperatures, and changes in global ocean circulation are fact.

    Now we are approaching temperatures that are melting the permafrost in the Northern Latitudes and that will release additional staggering amounts of green houses gases.

  56. Terrance March 18th, 2017 10:40 pm

    When one looks at the 420,000 years of ice core data from Vostok, Antarctica research station you will see multiple warming periods of highs abrupt change to lows. Luckily no period ever resulting in total freezing nor total melting of either polar ice caps. So relax.

  57. Kristian March 19th, 2017 6:51 am

    Terrance, winter wildfires are a new phenomenon for Colorado. This morning there is one approaching my home. So you can go straight to…

  58. Bruno Schull March 19th, 2017 10:04 am

    HI Folks. The comments about GW here have been great. I was going to write a long GW post but I decided to share this link instead because it’s fun, inspiring, a little different, and just…cool!

    What’s not to like? It’s relevant to recent threads in many ways! It’s got a fossil-fuel powered big truck with a cool paint job, split boards with soft boots (I think), crampons with those same soft boots (again, I think), a desert with snow, a slot canyon in the mountains, ice climbing in that same slot canyon, a cool female guide, some Canadian back country skis (G3?) and some fun skiing on the way down! Awesome! It put a smile on my face. I mean, wouldn’t that be a fun day out?

  59. Bruno Schull March 19th, 2017 10:06 am

    Almost forgot…the video has an ice climbing dog as well! I’ve heard the debates about bringing your dog skiing but ice climbing? Whole different story. Sure to elicit comments, but in the end the dog looked like it was having fun. It surely knows how to enjoy the moment more than most of us 🙂

  60. Terrance March 19th, 2017 10:27 am

    What was there years ago before your home was built……

  61. Matt Kinney March 19th, 2017 11:38 am

    We now average slightly over 400ppm CO2 in the atmosphere every day. There is nothing in any ice cores samples that show we have ever been at this level. Before humans it was 220ppm. 80% of this increase is from burning fossil fuels. If you don’t think that causes a chemical reaction, then go back to HS chemistry. (Org.350 was off a bit) It is estimated we will approach 450-500ppm by the end of century if we keep burning fossil fuels at our current level. We are way behind the curve. The current levels are not from melting permafrost, but that phenom will certainly exacerbate the situation.

    While there have been ups and downs in temperatures over the ice ages, today’s temperature rises are at nearly 120 times the rate observed in previous warming periods. Most the effects of global warming are happening quicker than modeled just a few years ago.

    While glaciers come and go, there is no evidence that glaciers have ever retreated at the currents rate. They are actually leaving “rings” on the hillside as evidence, whereas in the past the rate was so slow brush would have had time to grow and mask the rings.

    I am a witness to glaciers disappearing, gone, kaputz..I live in one of the most glaciated parts of the world. I was showing someone pics the other day of glaciers I skied in ’82 compared to today. Even from ’98 is still quite astounding. They were truly shocked as would anybody, but deniers think its just a natural thing. When I wrote my guide I made specific effort to mark the glacier terminals on routes to document global warming. All those lines have moved.


    Thanks to drones, we are seeing a reduction in carbon use as they are getting sick ski footage at way less cost than that of a heli. So that gas-guzzling airship full of rock-star skiers with heavy skis and the “Dead-Bull” stickers on the side has some competition.

    Not sure I can compare a power-line repairman, chainsaw, and service truck to a heli-skier regarding the need to consume fuel. This is actually a perfect example between need and waste and highlights a lack of resolve by the ski community to face global warming head on and stop the nonsense.

    In other ski news,….a number of heli-ski operation have pulled the plug in Valdez for the first time in 20 years,,,,,due to the lack of snow.. Imagine that in Valdez of all place. At one barrel per hour, they should seriously think about their business model.

  62. Terrance March 19th, 2017 12:24 pm

    Go look at the geological history and you will find co2 levels much higher in the past before man. The Vostok only goes back 420,000 years, the earth is older than that.

  63. Wellington Oxford March 19th, 2017 12:56 pm

    Buck, a few days have passed do you stand by the labels you hastily attached to me? If so, on what evidence?

    As to the discussion above: how has the apparent agreement on carbon’s sole causative role been established?

  64. Matt Kinney March 19th, 2017 12:59 pm

    Actually I did look at the Vostok data today and I find this graph. You must be talking about the total concentration of co2 and ch14 and other greenhouse chemicals But the Vostok data clearly shows that present levels of CO2 are approaching or greater than ever recorded….and faster.

    Also of note is that study was completed in the 1999. Things have changed and models are better.

    See graph in Part 3 – Fig 11.

    Anyway once I comment more than twice on lou’s blog, it becomes a discussion page. Sorry lou….on to spring skiing!

  65. Bruno Schull March 19th, 2017 2:56 pm

    I can’t believe nobody commented on the ice climbing dog! Oh well, back to global warming.

    Lou, I really appreciate that you have allowed this discussion to take place. Thank you.

    We’re not reading different news sites. I think we’re looking at the same data, but maybe we’re just interpreting it somewhat differently.

    As you point out, CO2 levels have been rising continuously since the industrial revolution, and do not appear to have slowed in any meaningful way in the last decades. However, I don’t think that means we can conclude that GW reduction efforts are a waste of resources. First, as others have pointed out, to assess the efficacy of reduction efforts, we would need to compare today’s CO2 levels and global temperature to a theoretical world where no reduction efforts had been made at all. One very simply approximation might be to compare per capita CO2 emissions twenty years ago to per capita emissions today, but I think that would be overly simplistic. Surely these calculations have been made. I suspect that reduction efforts have had some effect, though small. Furthermore, I suspect that if these calculations were performed, and they showed that global warming efforts have really had no effect, we would all know these findings, because they would be disseminated widely by those who have no wish to reduce fossil fuel consumption or CO2 emissions. Which brings me to my next point.

    The principal reason I don’t think that we can conclude that reduction efforts are a waste of resources is that I would say we have not really even begun real reduction efforts. Rather, reduction efforts have been contested at every step by industrial and political interests.

    This is not a conspiracy theory. It’s easy to find concrete examples. Some people might remember how during the presidency of George W. Bush, who himself had strong ties to the oil industry, the head of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEC), Philip A. Cooney, who had no scientific training, and previously worked a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute (API), edited a manuscript authored by Rick S. Piltz, a scientist and senior member of the Climate Change Science Program (CCSP). The effect of Cooney’s revisions was to introduce artificial doubt into scientific finding about human induced climate change. Pilitz resigned in protest, while Cooney was dismissed, and promptly hired by Exxon Mobil. Incidentally, Piltz went on to found Climate Science Watch (CSW), a nonprofit group which reviews government policy about climate change, and works to promote clear and open discussion of policy to reduce global warming. In 2006, he was awarded the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling, for his past actions and present work.

    The current head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is a leading climate change denier, in word and deed. In his previous role as the attorney general of Oklahoma, he repeatedly (more then ten times) sued the EPA to block environmental regulation, and as recently as last week, he stated that he did not agree that CO2 is a primary contributor to the global warming that we observe. Now he leads the EPA, despite a petition signed by nearly 450 current and former employees of the EPR protesting his appointment.

    The Volkswagen emission scandal is ongoing. One of the largest companies in the world took a conscious decision to cheat emissions regulations, purely for profit. This must have been a decision taken at the highest level, involving tens or hundred and people. And VW is obviously not the only car manufacturer (or bussiness of any kind) that has tried its best to subvert air pollution or other environmental regulations.

    Last, the United States, one of the leading producers of greenhouse gasses, in both absolute and per capita terms, has never truly backed international efforts to reduce carbon emissions. During the Clinton-Gore administration, the United States helped negotiate the Kyoto Protocol, however, during the Bush-Cheney administration, the United States declared that it would not participate in the Kyoto Protocol, and supported plans to begin oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife refuge. More recently, the Obama-Biden administration did ratify the Paris Agreement, and imposed more stringent regulations on car emissions and coal burning power plant waste disposal methods, however, the Trump-Pence administration has promised to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, and has already overturned regulations governing car emissions and coal burning power plants.

    These facts are a matter of record. Considered together, they show how fossil fuel companies, automobile manufacturers, associated lobby groups and political representatives, at all levels, from state offices to the highest level of federal government, have consistently fought any meaningful action about air quality regulations, carbon dioxide emission standards, or collective international efforts to reduce green house gasses.

    Furthermore, these groups conduct what can only be called a campaign to spread doubt and misinformation about climate science. Even in this thread the effects of this campaign are obvious: negative portrayals of climate scientists, repeated expressions of familiar and erroneous arguments such as, “climate has always changed in the past so what’s going on now is fine,” questioning the scientific consensus about global warming, and so on. I believe that these sentiments can all be traced back to conscious efforts on the part of groups to undermine action about global warming. One of the most frustrating things about these views is that climate change skeptics often seem to feel that they are independent thinkers, ahead of the curve, smarter than the masses, and so on, when, in fact, I believe they are simply being manipulated by economic and political forces. Do we really need to review the basic science behind global warming, again? Actually, I think we do. What is needed is articulate, apolitical, informed data and dialogue about climate science.

    How effective would efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions be if the United States and other developed nations took a strong unambiguous stance about global warming? What if leaders clearly stated that human action is driving global warming, and pointed out the most effective means to reduce emissions, reducing fossil fuel consumption and regulating air pollution? What if a small fraction of the vast sums spent on lobbying campaigns and political interests were invested in alternative energy research, or used to offset reduction in profits? What if, instead of being constantly derided and defunded, scientists and engineers were supported, and real efforts were made by the government to invest in alternative energy technology? What new solar, wind or hydroelectric technologies might we discover? What new energy storage methods might we invent? And so on.

    I would say that these efforts have not been made. Instead, research about alternative energy, carbon emission reduction, carbon capture, and, yes, climate mitigation, are constantly attacked. I am well aware of our overwhelming global reliance on fossil fuels, and the very real limitations of current alternative energy technology, but I am not at all convinced that with political and economic support, public awareness, and concerted effort, reducing carbon dioxide emissions would be impossible.

    Regarding mitigation, I agree that it will certainly be an important part of the future, but I do have some reservations. I imagine that many people have seen the (in my view) very good documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. In the documentary, a cartoon in the style of the Simpsons explains one global warming mitigation strategy; to control the temperature of the warming planet, they fly to the poles, pick up a big block of ice, and drop it in the ocean. Every year, as the temperature continues to rise, they drop a bigger and bigger chunk of ice. Mitigation strategies have a certain circular logic; it’s hard to imagine that they will be sustainable if no efforts are made to simultaneously reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and reduce CO2 emissions. Also, mitigation efforts will almost certainly be extremely expensive. I was recently reading about several proposed mitigation strategies to preserve sea ice cover over the North Pole, and the estimated costs involved were extremely high. It’s hard to imagine individuals, companies or governments being willing to spend those sums of money, when they appear so reluctant to spend much less to reduce emissions. Mitigation strategies, even when they are obviously needed, might be a hard sell. Last, natural systems are infinitely complex, and I am suspicious about our ability to predict the consequences of intervention, or foresee unintended and potentially disastrous effects. That said, I think that with sufficient research and testing we could probably get it “right enough.” Indeed, we will need to.

    I could go on, but I think I have made my points: we can’t dismiss efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions until we give them a real chance, and mitigation is necessary, though it will not be easy or even possible.

    (Regarding the article in Grist, great stuff, but I think the author fails to make an obvious point, namely, any moral accounting of GW actions and consequences should address the fact that some nations, such as the United States, as well as others, have produced a greatly disproportionate share of carbon emissions, and thus have an obligation to bear the costs of reduction and mitigation. These moral arguments are interesting, and are related generally to the tragedy of the commons. There are various viable solutions to the tragedy of the commons, discussed by philosophers, economists, and so on, for decades.)

  66. Terrance March 19th, 2017 3:26 pm

    I suggest look at geological data for temperature and other data not just ice cores since they do not go back far enough to show that one point the co2 levels were 15x what they are now, before the industrial revolution.
    The data shows cycles not linear events.

  67. Bruno Schull March 19th, 2017 3:55 pm

    To Terrance and Kinney: Kinney is correct about the 420,000 yr record–during that time CO2 never reached present levels, nor has it increased so quickly. Expanding the time scale, Terrance, you are correct, in the past, for example, 50 mya, CO2 and temperature have been much higher than at present, but your point is irrelevant. You began by saying, look at the Vostok core, temperature goes up and down, “so relax.” This is a familiar climate skeptic view, promulgated by the fossil fuel industry, as I explained above. On the contrary, the Vostok core is a cause for great alarm, as Kinney explains, and you apparently fail to grasp. You encouraged Kinney to expand the time scale to prove your point, but it does not make sense to look at the planet 50 mya to assess the human habitability (to say nothing of skiability) now. 50 mya the planet was a very different place than today, likely uninhabitable for humans, as the planet may be uninhabitable for us in the future, if we burn all of our fossil fuels and force temperatures higher. Interesting quote from Hansen et al., which also mentions adaptation: “We conclude that the large climate change from burning all fossil fuels would threaten the biological health and survival of humanity, making policies that rely substantially on adaptation inadequate.”

  68. atfred March 19th, 2017 4:27 pm

    Hi Lou – off topic – skins too sticky.

    My red Colltex “extreme” skins have been working great all winter except for one thing,
    they are too sticky (I think Colltex changed their glue formula a while back because their old glue was not sticky enough.); and, no, these are not the ones you are warned never to put together.

    It’s not a huge problem – the glue is not coming off on the ski – more of an annoyance – really hard to pull apart when overlapped without cheat sheet, really hard to rip off ski without taking ski off.

    Rando racers would not like this, not that I am one!

    I tried the “hot iron on paper bag” trick which helped clean the skins, but didn’t seem to affect the tackiness.

    So, any ideas on how to “detune” a skin that’s too sticky?

    Thanks much

  69. Lou Dawson 2 March 19th, 2017 4:37 pm

    Bruno, wow, do you get time to ski (smile)? All good points, but I’d be careful about the U.S. carbon guilt trip, we feed a lot of the world by our use of petrochemical agriculture, and make a lot of things with switches on them that the rest of the world uses. I’d imagine we still use a lot of carbon per capita even after subtracting what’s used to make things people in other countries enjoy, but personally I’m not convinced it needs to be a big guilt trip — and the per-capita amount has leveled off, interestingly enough… Main thing, one wonders if the pop music the whole world listens to (often unfortunately) — and we make here — has a carbon cost? Lou

  70. Lou Dawson 2 March 19th, 2017 4:39 pm

    Atfred, just put a strip of fabric down the middle, a “cheat strip” like they do on Ascension skins. Problem solved. Lou

  71. Kristian March 19th, 2017 5:01 pm

    I have installed many solar systems (100+) and have worked at NCAR and NOAA. But I am NOT a climate person. Rebuilt my lightweight aluminum 4×4 axles up to be a high efficient 2.5 liter diesel.

    In the past few years, Colorado has repeatedly experienced new all time record highs for heat including yesterday and today. Much evidence suggests that this is a major contributor to the massive die off of pine forests here. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed in the last few years from these new winter fires.

    One of my climbing partners has just written this book about the new dangers of Climate Warming:

    And for those of you that have grown to be cynical, here is another book of his:

    Bruno – as part of a rescue of a cliffed out couple with a very large dog some years ago, I constructed essentially the same harness out of webbing, clipped the dog to my harness, and we rappelled down together.

    Would be better for folks to stick to facts and not bizarre straw man wisecracks.

  72. Lou Dawson 2 March 19th, 2017 5:18 pm

    Kristian, feel free to let me know about the straw man snarky stuff (send a contact email, or just make a blog comment), I’ll moderate. I hate that type of thing, it just drags down the discussion.

    Also, please please everyone refrain from the tiresome and preachy “I make less carbon than you do” BS.


  73. Kristian March 19th, 2017 5:27 pm

    “I make less carbon than you do” BS.

    I made those comments to say that in the end, none of that matters because of the overwhelming numbers of others that do not feel guilty or care.

    And the world has already proved that it can make changes when it banned fluorocarbon gases and healed the Antarctic Ozone Hole.

  74. Lou Dawson 2 March 19th, 2017 5:45 pm

    Fair enough. If the shoe fits wear it, regarding my comments about forum moderation…

    Yes, the world can make changes. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we can completely reverse the carbon based industrial revolution in just a few years. To think that’s even possible is, to use the terminology promulgated by another commenter, possibly delusional?

    We’ve made progress on world hunger and nuclear proliferation, but haven’t solved those problems either.

    Conspiracy theories aside, and ignoring the endless chatter about vast cartells of greedy oil barons, the fact of the matter is economics. Petroleum is amazing stuff and the “peak oil” theories appear to be way exaggerated or even downright wrong. People from farmers in Argentina to hipsters in Silicon Valley like the benefits of a petroleum based world industrial economy. Resistance to change is as a result, strong, to put it mildly.


  75. Terrance March 19th, 2017 8:29 pm

    Thanks for clarifying that history is irrelevant.
    Look the whole history of the planets not just the select data you want to, you will a better person for it. Keep up your studies, you and Dr. Steig should talk to Nick Zentner he can give you a lesson on the volcanos in Washington state and former glacier’s. You might even listen to music at the Gorge in George that was formed by a receeding glacier a long time ago.

  76. Bruno Schull March 20th, 2017 5:25 am

    Hi Lou. I was just on a two week ski vacation! It was great. I actually learned how to carve! What a feeling. Now I am back at work. I find that having something else that I really need to do is a great stimulus to writing long wandering blog posts about GW 🙂 In my defense, I teach these topics regularly, so I have a great deal of materials at my disposal, and writing is second nature. By the way, I realize that in my last post I was using the word mitigation somewhat incorrectly–I’m not used to using the word in this context. I should have said engineering.

    Isn’t it crazy when you look the overwhelming role fossils fuels play in the global fuel economy? The last data I saw shows that about 80 percent of global energy consumption comes from fossil fuels, about 2-3 percent from nuclear, the rest from renewable energy, but that’s mostly biomass in less-developed countries. All the alternative energy sources we talk about, wind, solar, and so on, represent such a tiny fraction. The numbers are sobering when you consider that oil is projected to run out in approximately 40-60 years? What are we going to do then?

    Maybe we should take a long view? It took us about 150 years to get ourselves into this mess, it’s reasonable to assume that it will take us just as long to get out of it. I believe in incremental efforts, starting right now with what we have and can do, and continuing our efforts as our understanding and technology improve. And of course engineering will be a part of that.

    Regarding the great, evil, cabal of the fossil fuel, industrial, conservative complex….well, you used the word cabal, not me! As Al Gore said in an Inconvenient Truth, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been willing to hold the issue at arms length. Nonetheless, I do think it’s fair to say that conservatives, or republicans, or whatever you want to call them, have generally supported more fossil fuel consumption, more lenient air pollution standards, and less stringent controls on green house gas emissions. And I think it’s fair to say that oil companies do employ and exploit very powerful lobby groups that have a direct influence on public perceptions, politics and policy. The American Petroleum Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute exist–they are not imaginary. Perhaps the most effective way to combat GW would be to enact lobby group and campaign finance reforms?

    I also understand your argument that it is a bit hypocritical to portray fossil fuel companies in a critical light when we all consume so much fossil fuel. However, I also don’t think it’s fair to portray fossil fuel companies as innocent market providers who are simply fulfilling a need in society. I would say that most people do not necessarily want fossil fuels–they just want cheap goods and services. So far the global economy has been powered by cheap fossil fuels. But we are now paying the price for the artificially low fossil fuel costs that we have enjoyed for so long.

    But I do agree with you. Right now there are no practicable or actionable or realistic alternatives to fossil fuels. I simply hope that we can do everything we can now to take a small bite out of fossil fuel consumption, slowly transition to alternative energy as technology improves and it becomes more feasible, and enact whatever climate engineering methods we must as these become necessary.

  77. Bruno Schull March 20th, 2017 5:34 am

    To Terrance. I apologize if my last post sounded harsh. I regretted writing that to you, and I could have worded it better. However, you do continue to suggest that we all study the history and the climate records, and learn more about GW, and then we will understand the truth, which you purport to know. What is your point exactly? Yes, in the past, CO2 levels and temperature have gone up and down. Yes, in the last, there have been cold periods and warm periods. But what does that have to do with CO2, temperature, and human action in the last 150 years? Do you doubt that humans are responsible for current warming trends? Do you think that current CO2 levels and temperature are not a cause for alarm? Do you think that the planet will simply heal itself? And how do you think all of this will effect humans? When you wrote in your earlier post, “so relax?” what did you mean? Instead of indulging in dismissive and ironic comments, say what you mean. Then we can respond more clearly.

  78. Kristian March 20th, 2017 7:14 am

    Left out of the discussion about historic climate changes has been the dramatic historic sea level changes.

  79. Terrance March 20th, 2017 8:11 am

    Thanks for your words. I will quickly throw out a few points and get back to you with answers to your valid questions with some data I have.

    My point on relax is that the temperature on Earth has fluctuated and always will. In the past as in the future the Earth’s climate will probably get warmer or colder. Historically in the history of the Earth we are cooler than in the past. When people talk about the Earth healing itself, I cannot speak for the planet, I don’t know if the planet wants to be warm or cold. At what point will the planet tell us? Who gets to decide on at what climate is natural and then fight to keep it static. That is not my place so I just relax and let the natural cycle of heating and cooling happen.

    The co2 levels have also been higher and lower in the past. The UN says farming is the greatest contributor of co2, and cars is a very low percentage, so I suggest calling out our blog host and his past and possible future use of a co2 admitting “sled” is focusing on the wrong area.

    With the last 150 years of data that man has been contributing to the planet I don’t think it rational to say we are contributing to the demise of the planet but also we fixed the whole in the ozone layer?

    In California there is a county that is more half under water, it always has been according to the county lines. Since the Navy place buoys in the SF Bay during WW2 there has been no rise in the bay’s level. The funny thing about water is one one coast it cannot be much higher or lower than the other coast. I have not heard of any great city that has disappeared under historic sea level changes except Atlantis.

  80. Lou Dawson 2 March 20th, 2017 8:35 am

    Ok Bruno, glad to hear you were out there on snow!

    Regarding terminology, let’s use the word “mitigation” as shorthand for mitigating human production of carbon dioxide, which in turn mitigates (reduces) the amount of greenhouse effect global warming. “Adaptation” is used to denote those actions we take to deal with the consequences of global warming, for example building sea walls or dikes, changing the types of crops that are grown, stuff like that.

    My point in the blog post above is that being intellectually humble results in the inescapable observation that humans as a worldwide civilization might need to place more resources towards adaptation, since effective mitigation appears to be quite limited due to various factors. And that the balance between mitigation efforts and adaptation efforts can be an ethical or moral issue. Do you get into this with your students?

    For example, let’s say you live on an island near sea level. The world spends money and effort to mitigate carbon production and never has much success. The sea thus rises and your home is taken away. On the other hand, say some of that ineffective mitigation money is instead allocated to building a dike that saves your home. Which is it (smile)?


  81. Jim Milstein March 20th, 2017 8:53 am

    To Atfred about detuning aggressive skin glue. I had that problem before switching from a BD re-glue job to Contour skins, and I tamed the glue by dragging the skins through clean snow, glue side down before folding them up. Another approach, which I haven’t tried, but threatened to, is to empty a vacuum cleaner bag onto the glue.

  82. Lou Dawson 2 March 20th, 2017 9:27 am

    Just ignore Jim, next thing you know he’ll be dragging his skins through baking flour (smile). Lou

  83. atfred March 20th, 2017 10:02 am

    worth a try; I’m into experimenting.

    thanks Jim

  84. Bruno Schull March 20th, 2017 12:29 pm

    HI Lou. A short note (finally). One thing I will definitely be talking to my students more about is adaptation. It’s an important discussion, and you definitely helped raise my awareness about it, and helped me determine my own thoughts on the matter. Thanks!

  85. Lou Dawson 2 March 20th, 2017 12:45 pm

    Likewise Bruno, rest assured I spend a lot of time studying about GW, and am entirely open to new (or old) ideas (which is probably why I get going on this clearly non PC concepts of geoengineering and adaptation). Another thing that’s interesting to me is how we can sit here and predict the future, but there is a good chance that something entirely different from our expectations will occur. Thanks for keeping the discussion going, though I pity your finger tendons. ‘best, Lou

  86. Kristian March 20th, 2017 12:49 pm

    Detune skins probably means you need to wax and fully scrape you skis.

  87. Kristian March 20th, 2017 1:36 pm

    Lou, for your next Boulder visit, schedule a visit and climate interview at INSTARR, NCAR, CIRES, NOAA, or NEON. All would be happy to help you. The Pentagon and the Intelligence Community also have resources devoted to Climate Warming if you get to Wash. DC.

  88. Kristian March 20th, 2017 1:43 pm

    And NREL in Golden.

  89. Terrance March 20th, 2017 4:22 pm

    I put some articles together for you Iin answer to you invitation to expand. Thank you for this opportunity.

    What is your point exactly?
    We have a dynamic universe and the arrogant assumption that humans can actually alter the climate is just not supported by the evidence. We are all part of a complex environment and the Sun has probably the biggest impact on our environment. Of course, the Minoan collapse was instigated by one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history — Thera (Santorini). The fall of Rome came with climate change when everything turned down much colder and resulted in the invasions of the barbarians who were migrating South.
    Thomas Jefferson’s failed crops of 1816 caused him to incur a debt he never recovered from as a result of the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora. The Dust Bowl wiped out agriculture and sent unemployment to 25% during the Great Depression. Climate Change forced Americans off the farm and into skilled labor. Agriculture accounted for 70% in 1850 of all employment. NASA has estimated that four of the 10 hottest years in the U.S. were actually during the 1930s, with 1934 the hottest of all. This was the Dust Bowl; the combination of vast dust storms created by drought and hot weather.
    A whistle-blower, Dr John Bates, who was a top NOAA scientist, has come forward with hard evidence that the paper rushed out by the NOAA to influence the Paris Global Warming Conference was intended to be misleading using faked evidence. The scientists hired by the UN reported that there was indeed a ‘pause’ or ‘slowdown’ in global warming that began when the energy output of the sun began to decline starting in 1998. The UN scientists reported that in 2013. The NOAA, to try to keep the Global Warming going, suddenly claimed that the UN scientists were wrong and there was no pause but in fact world temperatures had been rising faster than scientists expected. The data being put out as propaganda has been indexed at a higher base. Without adjustments, the Antarctica, which the Washington Post said was the hottest year, was one of the coldest. Europe went really cold and in the USA, it plunged as well.
    The NOAA has been putting out bogus studies that contradict by scientists at the United Nation who said there was a “pause” in global warming. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said there was no discernible warming since 2000 in its 2013 report. They wrote that global temperatures showed a “much smaller increasing linear trend over the past 15 years than over the past 30 to 60 years.”
    Back in 1971, the theory that burning fossil fuels would create an ice age, not global warming. The Washington Post reported on July 9, 1971, that Dr. S. I. Rasool of NASA and Columbia University said that the fine dust from fossil fuel use would block out so much sunlight that the Earth’s “average temperature could drop by six degrees.” Rasool went on to argue that “such a temperature decrease could be sufficient to trigger an ice age!” For most of the 1900s, the physical North Pole was moving westwards around 10 cm each year towards Canada’s Hudson Bay. Then all of a sudden, in 2000, it changed direction moving 75 degrees eastwards and began moving east at a rate of around 17 cm annually. Nobody has ever witnessed such a change. This is completely unprecedented!
    The North Pole was previously in Hudson Bay about 54,000 until 48,000 years ago at 60 N and 83 W. Perhaps it is like lightening and just never strikes twice in the same spot. Now it is instead moving toward the British Isles according to NASA. Magnetic poles are defined in different ways but are commonly understood as positions on the Earth’s surface where the geomagnetic field is vertical. These north and south positions, called dip poles, do not need to be opposite of each other. In 1831, James Clark Ross located the north dip pole position in northern Canada. Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) tracked the North Magnetic Pole, which is slowly drifting across the Canadian Arctic, by periodically carrying out magnetic surveys to reestablish the Pole’s location from 1948 to 1994. An international collaboration, led by a French fundraising association, Poly-Arctique, and involving NRCan, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris and Bureau de Recherche Geologique et Miniere, added two locations of the North Magnetic Pole in 2001 and 2007. The most recent survey determined that the Pole is moving approximately north-northwest at 55 km per year.
    This rapid movement is striking. But the directional change is even more alarming for Europe. The summer in Europe barely saw many real scorching hot days but the winters are getting colder. In 2012, even the waterways in Venice were icing over. Germany relies upon its canal system to move goods and agriculture. In 2012, the canals froze. The canals in the Netherlands were not freezing during the winter during the global warming period. That changed in 2009. Hamburg was frozen to the bone in 2010.
    Europe is rapidly turning colder much faster than expected. The real deep freeze for Europe came about 300 years ago and is known as the Deep Freeze of 1709. In the first few months of 1709 remained in a deep freeze for months. People were ice-skating on the canals of Venice. People could cross the Baltic Sea on horseback because it was completely frozen! You could not ring a church bell because it would shatter it was that cold. The length of the deep freeze has always been a mystery.

    Yes, in the past, CO2 levels and temperature have gone up and down. The natural way to offset CO2 would be to grow more trees and plants.

    Yes, in the last, there have been cold periods and warm periods.
    But what does that have to do with CO2, temperature, and human action in the last 150 years?

    If you look at the CDIAC website and look at the Graphics 800,000-year record from Dome C you will see the history of Carbon Dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide levels. The recent 150 years is hard to differentiate from other periods of rising levels. To suggest man is the culprit is not supported because the levels have risen and fallen prior to the industrial period. What caused the fluctuation in the past?

    Do you doubt that humans are responsible for current warming trends? Yes Global temperatures remain in a serious downtrend since the Minoan peak. As the Greenland ice cores show, today’s climate is COLDER than 90% of the past 10,000 years! The warming zealots are screaming about CO2, which has risen sharply in the last 150 years (well above the long-term trend of the last several million years). But the temperatures are near the bottom of the range of the last 10,000 years! The assumption has been that CO2 causes warming, but if that were true, the data would back it up, and it does not at all. From the Vostok ice core, we know that we remain (very fortunately) in an inter-glacial period, which began about 11,000 years ago, and that the previous inter-glacial ended about 100,000 years ago (that inter-glacial was much warmer than our’s – remains of hippopotamus from that time period have been found in Britain!). We are likely much closer to the end of the current inter-glacial than to it’s beginning, and when it finally runs out of steam the climate in which we have lived will not be seen again for about 100,000 years (and sea level will be 300 feet lower). I do doubt man is responsible because the previous periods happened without us.

    Do you think that current CO2 levels and temperature are not a cause for alarm? No I do not.
    A shocking statement was made by a United Nations official Christiana Figueres at a news conference in Brussels. Figueres admitted that the Global Warming conspiracy set by the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, of which she is the executive secretary, has a goal not of environmental activists to save the world from ecological calamity, but to destroy capitalism. She said very casually:
    “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution.”
    She even restated that goal ensuring it was not a mistake: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

    Do you think that the planet will simply heal itself? Yes it will. We tend to assume that the way the world is today means it always was that way. Human recorded history is only about 6,000 years. Humanity is nothing within the scale of things regarding geology. So we do not comprehend how fast the Earth can change and we seem to be so arrogant to think we possess even the power to alter the climate if we choose to. We all want clean air and water.
    And how do you think all of this will effect humans? Keep in mind that about 100,000 years ago, homo sapiens arrived in the Middle East and about 50,000 years ago, they arrived in central Asia. Human progress has been to a large extent made possible by the inter-glacial period. Evidence from geomagnetism and continental drift, have failed to explain the ice ages and climatic changes such like the sudden melting of the ice sheets or the violent and rapid extinctions. I expect cold periods followed by warm periods.

    When you wrote in your earlier post, “so relax?” So relax stuff happens with or without us. Enjoy the storms that bring fresh snow and when summer arrives enjoy the great mountains and even ski on some really cool volcanoes.

  90. atfred March 20th, 2017 4:24 pm


    are you saying that too much wax on skis can cause skins to stick too much; how is that?

    Also, is folding, then rolling skins in the field a problem?

    (I only ask this because I just read that colltex’s green “whizz” skins (not mine) can be folded, but should not be rolled)


  91. Kristian March 20th, 2017 5:00 pm

    My personal humble experience is that skins are very difficult to remove from skis that are mostly naked P-TEX. And that skins peal off much more easily from freshly waxed skis.

    BUT be careful to scrape off any excess wax from the bases before applying your skins (or try to downhill ski them first) because otherwise the excess wax will be pulled up with the skins. (You can brush the ski bases as well – see the internet.)

    My all time worst new super sticky skin experience was when I let one of the skins touch a clean wood floor. Without thinking, I pulled the skin up and it ripped off the varnish finish of the floor.

  92. Kristian March 20th, 2017 5:16 pm

    I used to always fold skinnier skins. But for me, it can be an incredible struggle to peal apart wider skins. And shaped skins probably will not mate together well.

    Now I carefully step on the skin and plastic backing with one foot anchoring them together while keeping both stretched separately upwards with each hand. And can then easily center and then stick the skin and plastic backing together. And repeat with the other skin.

  93. Kristian March 20th, 2017 5:31 pm

    Swear to God last comment… And after the skins are dried of any moisture, I store them in a Gallon Zip Lock Freezer Bag to keep the glue from drying out.

  94. Lou Dawson 2 March 20th, 2017 6:26 pm

    Sheesh, be careful, the skin glue can stick so well to plastic bag you’ll never get it off… skin liners “backing” is probably better. Plus, you don’t run the risk of mildew that could happen in a sealed plastic bag.

    Feel free to comment (smile).


  95. Kristian March 20th, 2017 7:51 pm

    The skins are on the skin liner backings and thoroughly dry before they go into the plastic bag.

    More of a long term storage strategy to keep the glue from drying out. I have massively used skins from 20+ years ago that are still good.

  96. Kristian March 21st, 2017 9:44 am

    Waleed Abdalati, Director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, CIRES, at the University of Colorado Boulder and former NASA Chief Scientist is an easy guy to talk to. He is premiering a new NSF PBS television series tonight in Boulder.

    And INSTAAR seems like a natural fit for a Journalist who might want to explore Antartica, Greenland, Himalayas, etc.

  97. Jim Milstein March 21st, 2017 1:37 pm

    Just tried dipping the skins in beaten eggs, dredging in flour, then pan-frying them in butter with a little garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. Delicious!

    That is their best use now, given the state of the snow in Colorado.

  98. Bruno Schull March 21st, 2017 2:43 pm

    Hi Terrance,

    Thanks for the explanation of your views. The phrase that started all this was, “So relax.” If you were really trying to say that on the cosmic time scale humans are insignificant, well, then, I agree with you. In the future, the climate will change, present species will go extinct, new species might emerge, life may disappear and/or begin again, eventually the radioactive core of the earth will cool and the planet will be utterly transformed, and finally the sun will consume its hydrogen fuel and perhaps explode in a cataclysmic supernova, spraying elements into space, including the elements in our bodies, which may be transformed into other life forms, a kind of immortality, in distant galaxies. Great! Let’s go skiing!

    That said, I don’t think people are really concerned about the future millions or billions of years from now. When most people talk about global warming, they are talking about the next fifty, hundred or two hundred years. That’s what I’m concerned about. I want to do my best to ensure that my daughter, her children, their children, and all humans, inherit an earth that is not incompatible with human life and where as little suffering as possible exists. I suspect that you were really trying to say that recent increases in temperature are irrelevant, but I’ll take your word for it that you were simply pointing out the minor role humans play in the universe.

    When I read your post, my first instinct was to ask, “Where does all this information come from?” I copied large portions of text from your post and entered them into a search engine. It appears that the bulk of your post was cut-and-pasted word-for-word from, a website maintained by Martin A. Armstrong, a financial predictor, futurist and fraud. Armstrong served a long jail sentence for his participation in a Ponzi scheme. His company, Princeton Economics International Ltd., bears no relation to Princeton University. Indeed, as far as I can tell, Armstrong has no formal scientific training or college degree of any kind. His consulting bussiness appears to be a front for his attempts to make money from his opinions (on his website you can buy his articles and products). I’m not trying to accuse you of plagiarism—you said that you were going to assemble some material—but I do think there is a difference between articles written by scientists published in peer-reviewed journals, and the personal views of individuals with highly questionable authority and morality. Armstrong seems like precisely the kind of person inclined to cherry pick data, take comments out of context, distort arguments, and make false assertions (as I believe he does), for his own profit. In any case, I don’t think it serves your arguments to quote from this source.

    Armstrong cites several examples of climate events that affected humans, his point seemingly that each time humans survived, therefore we will survive current warming trends as well. I have another piece of data for Armstrong: some scientists believe that, about 70,000 years ago, a volcanic eruption in present-day Indonesia precipitated a volcanic winter and general cool period that lasted for as long as one thousand years. This is known as the Toba catastrophe, and the human population was reduced 10,000 individuals or fewer. All humans alive today are descendants of this small group, which explains our overwhelming genetic similarity. Incidentally, Armstrong states that humans arrived in the Middle East about 100,000 years ago. Anthropological interpretations change quickly, but the consensus appears to be that humans arrived in the Middle East much later, perhaps about 60,000 years ago, following the Toba catastrophe. This is an important point, because the fact that all humans alive today are descendants of a small ancestral group from Africa is a cornerstone in the biological basis for racial equality (another extremely interesting and controversial subject). Regardless, the Toba catastrophe is likely the most extreme climate event that humans have ever endured—we almost went extinct. Regardless, I don’t think that any of the examples Armstrong states, and certainly not those in the recent past, are as potentially widespread and severe as the predicted effects of current warming trends. Yes, we might survive. But at what cost?

    Armstrong quotes United Nations official Christiana Figueres. He describes her words as “shocking” and claims that she is trying to “dismantle capitalism,” an assertion that is sure to provoke extreme reactions from nationalistic proponents of the free market. That is a gross mischaracterization of her words. Figueres is talking about shifting from a global economy powered by fossil fuels to a global economy powered by alternative energy. I believe that is precisely the change that we need. And if we can harness economic and market forces (capitalism) to make it happen, I would fully support that process, and I think Figueres would as well. This was interesting for me, because I never before encountered the explicit reasoning behind the idea that global warming is some kind of conspiracy to destroy America. This is the sort of inflammatory reasoning that Armstrong knows will attract readers.

    Two more brief points:

    I do not agree with your assertion that the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide observed in the last 150 years is indistinguishable from other increases in carbon dioxide over the last 800,000 years. On the contrary, I think the evidence clearly shows that carbon dioxide has increased more quickly, and reached higher levels, than at any other time during this period. But you do raise an interesting question: What caused the fluctuations in the past? My understanding is that over long periods of time atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are determined by geologic and physical processes, such as burial, weathering, volcanic activity, and perhaps the size and chemical composition of the oceans. These processes work over long periods of time and, apart from volcanic eruptions, could not have produced the kind of abrupt increases we see today.

    Last, regarding Armstrong’s claims that NOAA participated in some kind of collusion or cover up to present false data to participants at the Paris conference, well, you can probably guess that I don’t believe a word of it. I will say, however, that I would not be surprised at all if individual years were cooler than previous years, or that cool conditions prevailed for two, five or even ten years. Those kinds of short-term changes are normal. Of course, when you look at longer periods of time, the overall warming trend is obvious.

    Terrance, I wish you the best. If you do want to continue this discussion, feel free to contact me privately by email.

  99. Werner Koch March 21st, 2017 3:03 pm

    Hi Jim, please don’t do that! Winter will be back later in 2017 for sure…
    I hope you like your/our contour skins (hybrid glue?) Any other feedback compared to BD other than being easier to separate?

    Alfred: go with lou’s advise and cover the middle with a plastic strap, I recommend duct tape.
    Regards Werner Koch contour skins

  100. Terrance March 21st, 2017 3:26 pm

    Thanks for your reply.
    I wholeheartilly agree on your wishes for yours and my children. I’ll bet your daughter comes up with solar powered drone that can take you up the hill, collapse and get thrown into your back pack!

    The data does not support your claim co2 levels are increasing more quickly than in the past. If you look at Dome data you cannot come to any other conclusion. They just aren’t any different.

    I think if you looked into Martin Armstrong you would say the frauds are elsewhere. I do not trust centralized planners. This GW industry is just as corrupt as all other industries who rely on others money for funding. Now if by peer review and you want to go into Cook’s 97% of scientist fraud yes we can look at the fact that 65 out of 11,640 abstract endorse human caused global warming, so yes I am part of the majority11,575, that do not endorse human caused global warming.We can disagree on Armstrong and Figueres.
    Let’s take this off line and continue. Perhaps Lou can exchange our emails. Heck I might even be able to send you chart to look at.
    I to wish you all best! Next time we chat skining on a volcano!

  101. Jim Milstein March 21st, 2017 3:50 pm

    Hi Werner, I like the Contour Hybrid skins a lot. Good glide, good grip. Ease of restoring their tack with Goo Gone is a huge plus. I can do it in five minutes. The only minus is the sensitivity to water between the adhesive and the ski sole. It’s not a problem here in Colorado, but it might be when skiing in the rain in less blesséd regions.

    After more than a hundred days skiing with the Contour skins, the glue at the tips and tails is starting to roll back on itself a little bit. This hasn’t been a problem, but it could be in the future. Is there anything to be done?

  102. Werner Koch March 21st, 2017 4:10 pm

    Hi, thanks, glad to hear. Regarding water, just get used to wipe off the base every time before applying the skins (turn stuff sac inside out) This not only greatly improves tack but also keeps hybrid glue clean. More than 100 days of use is quite a lot, so don’t worry about small glue issues. But still, when did you buy them? The latest version has a changed lamination process resulting in a much stronger connection between glue and back of skin. So until you buy the next pair just use the foil/mesh panel for storing the skins between the trips.
    Have a good spring, Werner

  103. aemono March 21st, 2017 4:47 pm

    Hey Terrance, you did put together some nice ‘articles’ for Bruno. That was very nice of you. I wasted some of my time reading these ‘articles’ too. I haven’t seen so much pseudo-scientific rubbish in one text in a long time. I won’t even comment on the political interpretations. Unlike polite Bruno I won’t bother to argue with you… it would be another waste of time.

    Some people should learn to spell first. Then they should learn to write. At some later time they might occupy themselves with the study of scientific data.

  104. Lou Dawson 2 March 21st, 2017 5:25 pm
  105. Lou Dawson 2 March 21st, 2017 5:28 pm

    I think we’re getting close to this post thread getting hijacked, since we’re straying so far and so long from skiing. The tired old discourse of global “warmists” arguing with “deniers” is something I’ve had about enough of. It just doesn’t go anywhere. Please stop. Lou

  106. Kristian March 21st, 2017 5:51 pm

    ” Perhaps I can get a scientist to write a blog post to get it started.”

    Hope that might be possible. Regards.

  107. Terrance March 21st, 2017 5:59 pm
  108. Jim Milstein March 21st, 2017 6:17 pm

    Back to those tasty skins.

    Werner, I got the Contour Hybrids early fall of 2016. Who uses a stuff sack for skins? Too fiddly. An extra thing. I just wipe the ski bases with a glove, if needed, and let wind and sun flash the moisture off. If that doesn’t happen, a quick wipe with a cotton handkerchief finishes the job. But, you say, isn’t a handkerchief a thing? Yes, but it’s small and unnoticeable in a pocket. Maybe a piece of microfibre fabric (ripped from inside the stuff sack) would work better, but so far the cotton is good enough.

    Since using the Contours I’ve reduced my ski waxing. If snow conditions require it, I stop and do a quick field wax job the old way — crayoning the wax on and burnishing with a cork. That way the skins pick up little or no wax from the skis.

  109. Werner Koch March 22nd, 2017 1:20 am

    Jim: Thanks, seems you are doing everything right already ; )

  110. atfred March 22nd, 2017 6:11 pm

    Kristian, re sticky skins,

    fresh ski wax job helped much.


  111. See March 25th, 2017 9:22 pm

    The question is not, “can we totally reverse the effects of centuries of co2 emissions by installing solar panels?” The question is, “does it make sense to do what we can to reduce co2 emissions, even if major damage has already been done?” The answer: it does. Deal with it.

  112. Lou Dawson 2 March 26th, 2017 8:57 am

    See, in my opinion it’s not that simple. It’s somewhat of a life raft dilemma and a zero sum situation. Let’s say you live on an island in the ocean. Rising sea level will drown your family within ten years at predicted rates of global warming resulting from existing levels of CO2 that can not be reduced in any practical time frame. A wealthy person in New York City could donate money to build a seawall to save your family from death. Instead, that individual chooses to fund solar panels because that’s a “long term solution.” Which is the moral choice? Arguments can be made both ways. Meanwhile, science continues to tell us that geoengineering a solution could very well be possible, and we obsess on solar panels… Tell that to the people looking at their island homeland being covered by ocean.

  113. See March 26th, 2017 10:57 am

    false dichotomy

  114. Lou Dawson 2 March 26th, 2017 11:59 am

    Ok, yeah, not the best example. Need something more extreme, or just imagine the people on the island simply have no alternatives, for some strange reason… but false dilemma or not, don’t you get the point?

  115. See March 26th, 2017 12:57 pm

    I think I get the point— we need to prioritize helping people effected by climate change. But I believe we also need to adjust our way of life to be less harmful to our home here. It’s not an either/or situation, imo.

  116. Lou Dawson 2 March 26th, 2017 1:53 pm

    See, I totally agree we need to adjust our way of life, already happening. Fracking helped. Bridge power sources will lead to change to renewables, solar panels are so 1990s, melted salt heat storage and stuff like that is the future. Key with solar is storage, the PV is cheap but only works when the sun is out… Lou

  117. See March 26th, 2017 2:10 pm

    I don’t think fracking is sustainable. I agree storage is key. I think it will prove to be pretty doable.

  118. Lou 2 March 26th, 2017 8:14 pm

    See, I totally agree, petroleum in general is clearly not sustainable, I’m just mentioning in terms of bridge technology that’s necessary to power industry as the switch to other forms of power is made. I’m stating the obvious, just didn’t want to make the wrong impression. Lou

  119. Jim Milstein March 26th, 2017 10:32 pm

    Odd that wind power is not being mentioned; it’s growing rapidly and is much bigger than solar presently. Wind too has the intermittency problem. Intermittency can be mitigated or solved with storage or a far-flung network to average out variation. Some forms of wind power are not intermittent; consider high altitude turbines on tethers (kites, really big kites on really strong strings). Clean cheap energy is a solvable problem. How about orbiting PV stations relaying power by microwave to antenna arrays on earth? Many possibilities. As the electric vehicle fleet grows, its batteries can be recruited for grid storage, both in the resting vehicles and later when the batteries are resold. Vehicle batteries could be a major part of electricity storage in the fairly near future.

    Phase-change salts are so seventies, Lou! They are the skinny three-pin telemark skis of energy storage! (Trying to bring it back to skiing. The skin gambit fizzled, but do try the recipe inspired by Lou’s comment. Gluten Alert! The skin recipe is not gluten-free. Nuts, possibly.)

  120. Kristian March 27th, 2017 3:50 am

    Much of the world is still wood and coal ?.

  121. Bruno Schull March 27th, 2017 4:54 am

    Lou, See, Jim, Kristian, I agree with what you are saying.

    Here are some numbers. The data is from 2010, but I think it is still generally accurate. Fossil fuels account for about 80 percent of global energy consumption, split roughly equally between oil, coal and natural gas. Nuclear energy accounts for about 3 percent, and renewable energy accounts for about 17 percent. The great majority of renewable energy is produced by biomass, such as burning wood and dung, which accounts for about 11 percent. Hydropower accounts for about 3 percent, while others, such as solar, wind, and so on, account for less than 1 percent. Of course, these number change depending on what country you are looking at. For example, in the United States, nuclear production is greater and biomass production is less, while in India, natural gas production is less and biomass production it greater.

    It’s also interesting to think about energy consumption by sector. The industrial and transportation sector each consume about 30 percent of the total, while the commercial, and residential sector consume about 20 percent. The industrial sector is perhaps the most evenly split between the different kinds of energy. The transportation sector consumes almost entirely liquid fuels. Energy consumption in the commercial and residential sector includes very large electricity related losses, primarily because of the great inefficiency of producing electricity from coal.

    Last, we can think about how long fossil fuels are projected to last. These numbers are sobering considering the above, for example, that fossil fuels account for about 80 percent of global energy consumption, or that the transportation sector is driven almost entirely by liquid fuels. Below are our remaining known and estimated fossil fuel reserves (rough but relatively accurate). Oil: known 50 yrs., estimated 50 yrs. Coal: known 150 yrs., estimated 420 yrs., Natural gas: known 75 yrs., estimated 175 yrs.

    Of course, as these fossil fuels become more scarce, expensive, and difficult to extract, the market, and the world will change. Some scientists predict that if we extract and burn all the remaining fossil fuels, the planet will become too warm for human life. Innovation in energy production and storage is necessary. Will the USA lead the way? Here is a recent article from the NYT about solar energy expansion in China:

  122. Lou Dawson 2 March 27th, 2017 7:25 am

    Jim and all, sure, all renewables are on the table. I think we often use the words “PV” and “solar” as metaphors for all renewables, wind is in there too.

    Predicting the future of fossil fuels always elicits a chuckle from me. I’m not quite sure why this sticks in my mind, but in science or social studies class in around 1964 I distinctly remember one of our textbooks had a chart showing that the world supply of oil was predicted to run out sometime in the 1970s or something like that. The book implied that the planet had some sort of giant tanks of oil and that we were pumping them dry. Even my fearless adolescent brain found that to be kind of scary. No more gasoline for family camping trips!

    Then recently, during past years we had various well meaning but clearly wrong people predicting some kind of global economic upheaval due to a thing called “peak oil” that was supposed to happen just about now.

    All this flies in the face of economics 101, supply and demand. Anyone smart in economics will tell you that the world will never run out of oil, and that despite all the talking, economics is what’ll drive worldwide change (which is what the more reasonable type of “peak oil” theory postulates — that the oil simply won’t get used as it’ll gradually become too expensive). The takeaway is that we as a civilization do adjust to things, but often do so slowly, especially regarding our dealing with a deferred global threat such as global warming. The short term economics doesn’t help solve the problem, as Bruno’s numbers show, the rate of change to renewables is glacial, and is doing virtually nothing to halt or reverse global warming.

  123. NT March 27th, 2017 11:31 am

    Just got home with 2 mammut carbon cylinders in our checked baggage from Norway. While we were in Norway, we had an accidental deployment in the hut but were able to exchange for about $20 USD. Now that the cylinders are in the states if we want to exchange them I’m guessing we’ll have to take them back to europe to do so.

  124. Lou Dawson 2 March 27th, 2017 4:47 pm

    Nice! And yeah, for exchange you can mail them empty totally legal, but you can’t get them mailed back as far as I know. Lou

  125. Jim Milstein November 21st, 2017 10:00 am

    Mikaela Shiffrin is featured in The New Yorker today.

    From the article: ““Powder? There’s no room for that,” Jeff told me. “That’s for also-rans. Sorry, that’s the way it is.”

    Jeff’s her dad. Great deeds require great sacrifices.

  126. Lou Dawson 2 November 21st, 2017 10:12 am

    Thanks Jim, I added to Twitter feed. Lou

  127. Lou2 December 26th, 2017 7:09 am

    I’m always liking the _theory_ of nuclear energy to solve carbon problem, but in practice it sometimes looks incredibly lame. Check this out:

  128. Jim Milstein December 26th, 2017 7:18 am

    Show us the way, Lou. Table top fusion should be perfect for your little backcountry HQ. A great demo project. And while you’re at it, how about some snow?

  129. Frame December 26th, 2017 7:29 am

    I see why you might consider nuclear Re carbon, but once you bring accidents, mistakes and transporting waste and getting rid of it, I can’t get behind it at all.
    I live in the UK and don’t like it, all the old French nuclear power plants are falling to bits, meanwhile we can’t keep one of the top wind turbine blade manufacturers from closing down. Drives one nuts.

    Snowing in the alps today.

  130. Lou Dawson 2 December 26th, 2017 9:28 am

    I already use fusion power — collected by PV panels (smile). Wish I could send some snow from up here in the PNW down to you guys, but alas my magic wand seems to be malfing. Lou

  131. Jim Milstein December 26th, 2017 10:31 am

    Trivially true, Lou. All power is fusion power, if not from our star, then by way of other stars. Except for home-grown fusion power. Bring it home! A grateful world awaits.

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