One of the more interesting arguments I hear against Global Warming is that ‒ 40 years ago – at least some scientists believed that the earth was cooling.
An April 28, 1975 Newsweek article wrote: “The central fact is that, after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the Earth seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.”
Writing in May 2014, Peter Gwynne, who authored the original 1975 article writes, “While the hypotheses described in that original story seemed right at the time, climate scientists now know that they were seriously incomplete. Our climate is warming — not cooling, as the original story suggested.”
However as Mr. Gwynne points out, “certain websites and individuals that dispute, disparage and deny the science that shows that humans are causing the Earth to warm continue to quote my article. Their message: how can we believe climatologists who tell us that the Earth’s atmosphere is warming when their colleagues asserted that it’s actually cooling?”
Think about the world that has changed since 1975. Thinking about computing, when I graduated from college in 1996, which is just under 20 years ago, I bought a PC which operated Windows 95, its hard drive was 1 GB, it has a 28.8 modem. As cool as I thought my computer was back then, my phone is much more powerful with a 64 GB in memory. That’s just 20 years ago.
Apple Computer was not born until 1976. Macintosh wouldn’t even come out until 1984.
Why am I pointing out computer technology changes? Well, climate models are run on computers, and the ability to model the climate and analyze data has revolutionized climate science.
Or, as Mr. Gwynne argued last year, “In the 39 years since, biotechnology has flowered from a promising academic topic to a major global industry, the first test-tube baby has been born and become a mother herself, cosmologists have learned that the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate rather than slowing down, and particle physicists have detected the Higgs boson, an entity once regarded as only a theoretical concept.”
He notes, “Those that reject climate science ignore the fact that, like other fields, climatology has evolved since 1975. The certainty that our atmosphere is indeed warming stems from a series of rigorous observations and theoretical concepts that fit into computer models and an overall framework outlining the nature of Earth’s climate.”
He adds, “These capabilities were primitive or non-existent in 1975.”
Another interesting point that Mr. Gwynne makes is that efforts to clean up emissions into the atmosphere such as the Clean Air Act of 1970 reduced other pollution, especially the amount of sulfate aerosols in the atmosphere. “Since those compounds primarily reflect heat, their reduction effectively gave carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases more control over the Earth’s temperature,” he said.
See the full article by Peter Gwynne.
Fox Guarding the Hen House on Prosecutorial Misconduct
In the battle against prosecutorial misconduct, no agency has been hammered harder than the California Bar Association. As we have noted, starting with the Innocence Project’s 2010 study, the Bar Association has rarely disciplined attorneys involved in prosecutorial misconduct.
Now the San Jose Mercury News on Sunday came out with an article, “Prosecutor with checkered record is training legal watchdogs.”
Writes the Mercury News:
“The agency in charge of disciplining California’s lawyers has the pick of the litter when it comes to contracting with legal specialists. So the State Bar’s decision to hire a Bay Area attorney with a checkered record is raising eyebrows.
“Alfred F. Giannini, a retired San Mateo County deputy district attorney, has been criticized by the Northern California Innocence Project for committing misconduct in three murder trials that led to a reversal or a mistrial.
“Now he’s coaching trial attorneys on how to win cases against lawyers the State Bar accuses of stealing, cheating or lying.
“It’s a bizarre choice. He’s like the poster boy of misconduct,” said Kathleen M. Ridolfi, the project’s former director, who teaches at Santa Clara University’s law school. “It’s a very sad statement about the Bar in California.”
Mr. Giannini defends his record, “offering detailed explanations for each problematic case and criticizing the Innocence Project’s research in annual reports about prosecutorial misconduct as incomplete.”
He was hired by the Bar last year to spend about 10 hours a week, at $75 an hour, “training its litigators under a year-long contract.”
A spokesperson for the Bar told the Mercury News that the agency would not comment but did say that “there are no plans to renew” Mr. Giannini’s contract when it expires in May.
Councilmember Frerichs on the Cannery CFD
In recent weeks, both Robb Davis and Brett Lee have explained their votes on the CFD. This week Councilmember Lucas Frerichs, in an interview with the local paper, said that “refusing a CFD would come at a price, such as amenities and infrastructure not being built for years, as the developer waits for money from future home sales.”
Moreover, he reiterated that “a CFD was part of the talk throughout the discussion of The Cannery’s development agreement.”
He told the paper, “What I don’t want to see is what happened when Mace Ranch was built.”
He also said that “the CFD money doesn’t come from the city general fund, would not be paid by the entire community and would be paid for by future Cannery residents one way or another — either through higher-priced homes or through a CFD.”
He added, “With an anticipated $11.8 million sale, the city would receive $750,000 from the developer. For any amount above $11.8 million, Frerichs said, there would be a 50/50 split, resulting in potentially millions of dollars for the city.”
Community Choice Energy
Last week Robb Davis and Lucas Frerichs wrote an editorial on a community choice energy (CCE — formerly known as CCA) program in Davis. At the February 3 council meeting, they established the Community Choice Energy Advisory Committee to determine specific options for developing such a program.
CCE is a mechanism by which a local government jurisdiction (e.g., a city, county or joint powers authority) contracts directly with a wholesale electricity supplier to purchase and supply electrical power only (excluding gas). In essence, the CCE becomes the energy-buying agent for consumers instead of the local investor-owned utility (Pacific Gas & Electric in our case).
Under a CCE model, PG&E continues to do the billing, turns on and off power when you move, maintains and owns the power lines, and other infrastructure and resolves outages. PG&E will bill customers for the metered energy used and forward to the CCE monies collected for the electrical generation portion of the electric bill. The CCE entity then pays the energy generator for the electricity provided.
In a CCE model, individual customers can opt out and continue to receive electricity directly from PG&E.
Unlike a publicly owned utility — which was under consideration in 2013-14 — the city of Davis would not incur the costs of acquiring PG&E’s transmission and distribution infrastructure. However, a CCE does permit the city to select electricity generation sources (including greener, renewable energy such as solar and wind) as well as capture a portion of “public purpose funds,” which it can use, in turn, to promote energy conservation and develop local generation of renewable energy.
The councilmembers explain, “The CCE model is gaining traction across California, and there are about 30 local jurisdictions in various stages of exploring, forming or operating a CCE throughout the state, including places such as Lancaster, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, San Francisco and Richmond.”
Moreover, they add, “Developing a CCE today does not preclude developing a publicly owned utility later, and does not increase the cost of doing so. Choosing not to acquire transmission and distribution infrastructure is likely a much more cost-effective choice, at this time.”
They add, “A CCE, therefore, potentially would allow the city to move forward with a form of public power, all while allowing us to determine the sources of electricity we use as we continue to develop additional local sources.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting