>John Allen
>April 10
>The Evidence for Dangerous Climate Change
>John Allen, software engineer and entrepreneur, worked at IBM and
>Lockheed 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 Inconvenient Truth.
>John, 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,
>including Building 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 show included:

A slide of a Russian guy's truck that had gotten mired down when the
permafrost melted, 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
dioxide emissions."

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
house gases."

During Q&A a lot of interesting things came up:

In a 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 passed."

John has some funny stories about his struggles to reduce his families
energy consumption. He thinks the most efficient shower arrangement is
a 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:

http://groups.google.com/group/sdcc-1    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.

http://groups.google.com/group/solar-buddies  - For folks specifically interested in Solar Thermal

Tian Harter