Evidence for Dangerous Climate Change
Allen, software engineer and entrepreneur, worked at IBM and
before starting his own software company - Upstairs Software Inc.
>One of his current
interests, and the focus of this talk, is public outreach on
>the evidence for
dangerous climate change, as accumulated by Al Gore and
>presented by him in
the Oscar winning documentary The
personally trained by Al Gore, will summarize the key points from the
>film and also present some
extra material about what we can do to be part of
>the solution. If time
permits, he will discuss some of his other interests,
Performance and Solar Thermal, and the work he has
>done at home to reduce his
own carbon footprint.
John Allen began by asking
for shows of hands in answer to a few questions.
Once he knew that we were
all fairly knowledgeable on the subject, he zoomed
through his slides in
order to spend as much time as possible on Q&A.
Highlights from the slide
A slide of a Russian guy's
truck that had gotten mired down when the
possibly because of global warming. John explained
"The inconvenient truth
for him was that his truck got mired. The scary
truth for us is that the
melting means that a lot of methane is outgassing
from the melting
permafrost and becoming a greenhouse gas."
Another slide showed a
night shot of the earth from space. Forests all
over the southern
hemisphere glowed red. John explained those were
burning because humans
wanted to use the land for other things. Europe
and much of the USA glowed
white. John explained that was where a lot
of electricity is used for
illumination. There was a patch of yellow in Siberia.
John explained that was
where natural gas was being flared from Oil fields.
He finished his discussion
of that slide by saying "those are our big carbon
Another slide showed that
the average American uses something like twice
as much energy as the
average European, and much more than any other
average citizen on the
planet. That was followed by one that showed total
energy consumption per
country for most of the big countries on Earth.
John said that "China's
total energy consumption will be more than that for
the USA for the first time
this year." Several people made surprised sounds.
Another slide was side by
side satellite photos of Brazilian rain forest in 1970
and today. The '70 picture
was a green square. The modern picture had
hash marks all over it.
John explained that they were putting in roads and
farms because they want
the same consumer lifestyle we enjoy.
Another slide showed the
average per capita energy consumption for various
groups, and how it has
changed over time, and how we expect it to change
over time going forward.
California was broken out from the rest of the USA,
and was a somewhat lower
line. John said that "we have little leverage telling
China what to do until we
get as low as them on per capita emission of green
During Q&A a lot of
interesting things came up:
typical American home lighting is a modest percentage of the energy
used. The bigger
consumption item is heat, both for hot water and air.
In response to a question
about peak oil, John said "Last year was the first
year in human history that
we pumped less oil than the previous year, so
peak oil may already have
John has some funny
stories about his struggles to reduce his families
energy consumption. He
thinks the most efficient shower arrangement is
shower head with a manual valve in series with shower head for reducing
volume to meet personal
minimums which may vary during a shower.
John committed to give
Climate Change presentations at least ten times
when he took Al Gore's
training. So far he has done seven, including this one.
One thing he learned from
the groups he has given his talk to is that the
youth of today get it on
this issue a lot more than he would have expected.
John heard during the
Solar Power 2006 conference in San Jose that it is
possible to get about 40%
efficiency out of PV - Photo Voltaic, solar panels.
The best ones being
manufactured right now are about 20% efficient. John
routinely gets 50% out of
very ordinary solar thermal panels. He believes that
the obstacles to making
solar thermal cost competitive with current PG&E prices
for natural gas are
solvable and he welcomes collaboration. Find out more at:
Somebody mentioned Chili
Pepper Appliance, who makes energy saving things:
Somebody else mentioned
voluntary local gasoline taxation for change:
John Allen has a website
you can see at:
He also has two invitation
only google groups:
SDCC - Slow Down Climate Change for anybody who has been to one of my
presentaions and wants to stay in touch woith others of like mind.
- For folks specifically interested in Solar Thermal