Wednesday, December 30, 2015

                          SANTA'S WARM WELCOME HOME

TEMPERATURES AROUND THE NORTH POLE HAVE RISEN TO RECORD EARLY WINTER HIGHS OF + 31 F, AS WARM AIR FROM THE UNFROZEN ATLANTIC SURGES NORTH.

THIS IS 50 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL FOR THE SEASON, AND THE FIRST JANUARY POLAR THAW IN RECORDED ARCTIC HISTORY MAY USSHER IN THE NEW YEAR.
1 JANUARY  UPDATE:  WHICH IT DID:

DOES FREEDOM OF SPEECH MEAN FREEDOM TO CALUMNIATE ?

IN WHICH MARK STEYN CONFUSES CIVIL AND CRIMINAL LAW 
WHILE  DISCUSSING  HIS CONVICTIONS WITH A CONVICT

                          I KNOW  EXACTLY  HOW  HE  FEELS.

Five Questions with  A  Fierce  Green  Fire  Director Mark Kitchell

A Fierce Green Fire
Director Mark Kitchell
Director Mark Kitchell
Filmmaker: The title of the film comes from an epiphany experienced by ecologist Aldo Leopold, when, as a young ranger, he shot a wolf. Did you experience such a moment and know that you had to make films that involved portraying and inspiring activism? 
Kitchell: No I didn’t kill a wolf and see a fierce green fire. I did shoot a moose on a wilderness journey and I have regretted it ever since. 


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

THAR SHE BLOWS ! CALIFORNIA'S INFRARED  INK PLUME

THIS IS NEITHER A GUSHING OIL WELL
 NOR BLACK SOOT FROM A FIRE :
IT'S A TON A MINUTE FLOW OF METHANE FROM A RUPTURED RESERVOIR 

THOUGH IT IS  NEARLY INVISIBLE TO THE NAKED EYE,  THIS  THERMAL BAND INFRARED IMAGE  REVEALS  HOW PEFECTLY OPAQUE  METHANE IS TO THE WARMTH THE CAMERA RECORDS,  STARK PROOF OF THE CUTTING EDGE 19TH CENTURY SCIENCE JOHN TYNDALL FRS  DESCRIBED IN 
The Philosophical Magazine:           

"Now if as the above experiments indicate , the chief influence be exercised by the aqueous vapour, 
every variation... must produce a
change of climate.
Similar remarks would apply to the carbonic acid diffused through the air, while an almost inappreciable admixture of any of the hydrocarbon vapours would produce great effects on the terrestrial rays and produce corresponding changes of climate."
 
                       John Tyndall  'On the absorption and radiation of heat by gases and vapours'

Sunday, December 27, 2015

                                 TEN TENTACLES A-TWINING

 Not much to shoot at in Chilmark this Boxing Day, but  great  fishing  was reported elsewhere:
ON  THE  FIRST  DAY  OF  CHRISTMAS 
JAPAN  SAW  IN  HD
 A  GIANT  SQUID SWIMMING ON TV !
,,,,,,,,,,,,,
              

Saturday, December 26, 2015

    Could The Sucking Sound Be The Silicon Devouring Their Brains ?

WOODLAND – The Woodland Town Council rejected a proposal to rezone a section of land north of town to M2 (manufacturing) from RA (residential/agricultural), essentially denying approval of a solar farm... Later in the meeting, the Town Council voted for a complete moratorium on solar farms.

During the public comment period preceding the rezoning vote, citizens expressed distrust and fear of the solar panels.

Jane Mann....is a retired Northampton science teacher and is concerned that photosynthesis, which depends upon sunlight, would not happen and would keep the vegetation from growing. She said she has observed areas near solar panels where vegetation is brown and dead because it did not receive enough sunlight.

She also questioned the high number of cancer deaths in the area, saying no one could tell her that solar panels didn’t cause cancer.

“I want to know what’s going to happen,” she said. “I want information. Enough is enough. I don’t see the profit for the town.
“People come with hidden agendas,” she said. “Until we can find if anything is going to damage this community, we shouldn’t sign any paper.”


Bobby Mann...  said the solar farms would suck up all the energy from the sun and businesses would not come to Woodland...

The council later voted for a moratorium on future solar farms.

WILL FRIENDS OF SCIENCE RELABEL THE SKY DRAGON SMAUG?

Princeton philosopher Harry Frankfurt's
                                           Tractatus  Taurocoprocus
Suggests where fossil fuel polemicists & PR artistes tired out from touting galactic  cosmic rays, solar variability, Bayesian statistics & underwater volcanoes may next turn to earn their pay.  

Cacaphonists can try to rant  their  way out of  the  hottest year on record by dumbing down and advertising the macroscopic radiative forcing impacts  examined in this new work:

Volume 134, Issue 1, pp 1-14

  • Clifford Chuwah 
  • Twan van Noije
  • Detlef P. van Vuuren
  • Philippe Le Sager
  • Wilco Hazeleger
    Abstract
    Future changes in aerosol concentrations will influence the climate system over the coming decades. In this study we evaluate the equilibrium climate response to aerosol reductions in different parts of the world in 2050, using the global climate model EC-Earth. The aerosol concentrations are based on a set of scenarios similar to RCP6.0, developed using the IMAGE integrated assessment model and exploring stringent and weaker air pollution control. Reductions in aerosol concentrations lead to an increase in downward surface solar radiation under all-sky conditions in various parts of the world, especially in Asia where the local brightening may reach about 10 Wm−2. The associated increase in surface temperature may be as high as 0.5 °C. This signal is dominated by the reduced cooling effect of sulphate which in some areas is partially compensated by the decreased warming effect of black carbon. According to our simulations, the mitigation of BC may lead to decreases in mean summer surface temperature of up to 1 °C in central parts of North America and up to 0.3 °C in northern India. Aerosol reductions could significantly affect the climate at high latitudes especially in the winter, where temperature increases of up to 1 °C are simulated. In the Northern Hemisphere, this strong surface temperature response might be related to changes in circulation patterns and precipitation at low latitudes, which can give rise to a wave train and induce changes in weather patterns at high latitudes. Our model does not include a parameterization of aerosol indirect effects so that responses could be stronger in reality. We conclude that different, but plausible, air pollution control policies can have substantial local climate effects and induce remote responses through dynamic teleconnections.

Friday, December 25, 2015

PEAK  FRANKINCENSE FEARS ROCK GOLD & MYRRH MARKETS

The Journal of Applied Ecology warns Peak Frankincense is at hand.  At  current  rates  of  depletion by  Nativity plays, church services, Islamic and Orthodox beard fumigations and heathen winter  solstice  celebrations, existing  Boswellia papyrifera tree reserves cannot long sustain the legendary resin's production.
Mosaic in Ravenna  shows  flight of capital  from Byzantine mining regulations 
TAPPING  POINTS
Citing  three wise men from Wageningen and Eritrea, who warn intensive tapping of the trees  results in fewer, less viable seeds.  ecologists believe poor regeneration is due to the plants metabolically  diverting  carbohydrate into resin at the expense of their reproductive organs.  This hypothesis was tested in south-western Eritrea by looking at how many seeds intensively tapped trees produced, and their germination rates, compared with untapped trees.
According to study author  Professor Frans Bongers of Wageningen University: 
"This study strongly suggests that there is competition between investment of carbohydrates in sexual reproductive structures and synthesis of frankincense in Boswellia papyrifera. At all study sites, tapped trees produced smaller fruits with seeds of lower weight and reduced vitality than non-tapped trees." 
 "In order to control the decline in fruit and seed production, less intensive tapping procedures should be developed. As our results show that six tapping points per tree are already having a negative impact, we suggest reducing the number of tapping points. New tapping regimes should include rest periods when there is no resin harvesting to allow the trees to recover," 
Officials  at  CFACT,  The  Council for Frankincense Advertising by Coal Touts, said frankincense is one of many infant resinite fossil fuels awating the advent of  Clean Coal technology so they can burn not just efficiently, but deep and crisp and even.
Bond Resources fossil  frankincense geologists returning to  Broken Hill

CFACT has had a supply-side epiphany. The incense crisis can be solved by overthrowing the byzantine regulatory bureaucracy that has plagued the Holy Land since the days of , well, Byzantium.

Making lignite extraction in Arabia Felix easy as anthracite mining in the little town of Bethlehem Pa. could increase production from Carboniferous era beds of the fossil liturgical fuel, to create a positive  feedback loop.

"We're lobbying Pope Francis to burn more frankincense in the liberation liturgy" said a CFACT spokesman, "Sending  more plant-nourishing CO2 heavenward will enrich Earth's atmosphere with the life-giving gas , and accelerate the growth of Boswellia trees to assure a fragrant future until Australia matches Alberta's tar sand tax credits  with camel depreciation allowances for  frankincense  prospectors in the outback, and reseach on on Myrrh fracking bears fruit.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A STOCKING PRESENT FOR THE BISHOP

Is a conservative climate consensus possible?

If hard cases make bad law, soft science makes sensible politics even harder. The Climate Wars present legislators on both sides of the aisle with few certainties, among them that one side is prone to construe any human impact on climate as tantamount to Weather of Mass Destruction.
It does so with Hollywood’s full arsenal of special effects at it disposal, and makes its case using lines corny enough to make Captain Planet wince, yet the results seldom face scientific criticism. This stands in stark contrast with its token opposition, chosen for political reliability rather than scientific acumen, and scripted by conservative media often as scientifically impoverished as they are well funded. The result is that Republicans find themselves poorly armed and bizarrely outnumbered in the Climate Wars.
Where does this asymmetry come from? Even recusing all those with a stake in the outcome in the Climate Wars, there are still hundreds of thousands of scientists at large in America. Yet Fox and the other self-styled conservative media can find barely a dozen willing to put their scientific reputations at risk on demand. Those often seem a pretty underwhelming and unenthusiastic lot, for a reason as simple as their discourse tends to be infantile—deliberate appeal to authority instead of evidence is akin to a scientific death wish.
In science, as in politics, the truth that sets men free is seldom the one they want to hear. Be it evolution or climate science , the conservative media’s most favored talking heads frequently adduce views by turns obsolete, tendentious, bent or just plain daft.

 If Conservative journalism at large perseveres in relying exclusively upon them, it risks becoming a 21st century scientific eyesore. Some already regard it as such because of websites regurgitating Yack Radio sound bites as “sound science.” This is a risky business, for while faith-based science op-eds may find their target in a demographic of Fox viewers who last saw a science text in junior high, they tend to repel adults who invest in today’s technical economy.
Less scientific common sense is heard on the right today than in Reagan’s time. Many of the talking scientific heads on both sides seem more interested in trading truth for influence than speaking truth to power. Though presentable to the point of being, well, lawyerly, those on the right by and large lack a first-rate scientific constituency and show as little stomach for debating the facts in a serious scientific forum as Al Gore—who appeared before an audience of 12,000 earth scientists in San Francisco last year only to skedaddle the minute he finished his 1001st performance of The Speech.
Those demanding Gore debate, like Steve Milloy, should be exhorted to sally forth and mix it up at meetings that afford an open forum for controversy. But peer review cuts both ways. I must I accept Milloy’s protest that it is unfair to write he refuses to debate his scientific views, what there is of them. I’d love to see him enliven Association of Science Writers meetings and appear on NOVA in a warm Moyeresque colloquy with different climate modeler each month.
His cohort is wise to keep a low academic profile, for the burlesque of climatology on Milloy’s Orwellian “Junk Science” website would not stand an ice cube’s chance in hell of surviving scientific cross examination. Finding their polemics un-publishable in the face of peer review, some contrarians have scandalously opted to found, or co-opt, journals of their own, just as Creationists do, and for the same reason—to avoid the rigorous reality check that peer review affords.
The reluctance of the fringes in the Science Wars to come out and fight tends to polarize the apolitical scientific center. Absent intellectually serious Republicans, scientific professionals on websites like RealClimate have only Democrats with whom to discuss policy. It is hard to break this cycle because while  contrarian PR flack lack serious scientific street cred , TV, environmentalists can field PBS stars galore
 Most  “global warming skeptics”  brought to the debate on Fox  are amateurs by comparison, and their lack of intellectual seriousness is woefully obvious in  (un-peer reviewed) articles  that read like the advertising copy they are , witness  “Meltdown for Global Warming Science”.
“Bombshell papers have just hit the refereed literature that knock the stuffing out of the United Nations, and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In two research papers in…Geophysical Research Letters…we have a quarter-century of concurrent balloon and satellite data, both screaming that the U.N.’s climate models have failed, as well as indicating its surface record is simply too hot.”
Authors Singer & Michaels were dead wrong—the satellite data they cited was seriously in error—the climatologists responsible, Spencer & Christy,  agreed to its retraction in Science in 2005 and told Newsweek in 2006: “our satellite trend has been positive.”
Canada has contributed to K Street climatology as conspicuously, and controversially, as NeoCans have to White House speechwriting. The  tar sand industry has fielded Dr. Robert Ball and sundry economists respond to the IPCC report with such works as “Polar bears of western Hudson Bay and climate change.” While normative science accepts citation in peer-reviewed journals as the ultimate measure of success or failure, the Natural Resources Stewardship Project has another view:
“A measure of Dr. Ball’s impact was seen recently when, after one of his pieces was featured on the Drudge Report a leading on-line news service, he received approximately 1,000 e-mails from the general public during the next 24 hours.”
There is more to science than changing your mind when the facts demand—you have to persuade your colleagues as well.  Science Citations  is the usual metric, but it instead reveals that , Singer, Michaels, and Ball are most often cited by themselves.
Twenty years ago, a famously bad climate model almost lead to a foreign-policy debacle—it abused the Stefan-Boltzman equations by treating this planet as a featureless bone-dry billiard ball, ignoring the kaleidoscopic play of clouds in the sky, and the sluggish thermal inertia of the oceans. Taken to scientific task in Nature, and examined as a political aberration  in the Wall Street Journal it soon collapsed back into the cold war factoid cemetery—“Nuclear Winter” could not take the heat.
When Michael cr State of Fear what Johnny Carson had earlier done for Carl Sagan, technothriller writer Michael Crichton called  me to discuss thengeophysics. We touched on dynamics of the ‘nuclear winter crack-up, from Carl Sagan’s refusal to debate, to the hazards of simple models of complex systems, subjects that figured in his 2003 Cal Tech speech. ‘Do Aliens Cause Global Warming?” 
The decay of Crichton’s thoughtful critique of climate modeling, designed for a sophisticated Cal Tech audience, into a few scientifically depleted sound bites  finds a parallel in  Viscount Monckton's  preference for  simple equations over  the daunting complexity of  modeling a planet with a dynamic atmosphere and oceans. But  just as Sagan was Science Editor—of a ubiquitous tabloid—Parade—Monckton is hard wired to the Daily Telegraph.
This insularity is much remarked upon in the small world of global climate modeling—its favored blog, RealClimate, having hosted this remark:
“the leftward bias in climate discussions arises not from any bias of the scientists or the science, but rather from the fact that conservatives have been absent from discussions about how to handle the issue. In general, those of a conservative bent have wasted a lot of time and energy attacking solid science that they often do not understand rather than trying to come up with solutions that won’t knock the economy off the rails. This has worked out very well for Al Gore, but it probably isn’t the best use of their talents, or the best way to guard their interests.” 
Among the few skeptics on climate change who count as real players in the underlying scientific game is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a prolific and respected author of peer-reviewed papers on the atmospheric sciences, MIT’s Richard Lindzen. 
Lindzen stands out like a gilded lightning rod atop a pyramid whose scientific facade is propped up by a rubbly Flintstone fill of politically appointed TV weathermen, geologists, and mining engineers righteously defending the turf (and production prospects) of coal and tar sand miners. Near the apex of respectability in this microcosm are astrophysicists who think variable star and cosmic ray research should get its fair share of the funding pie. Examining their collective bibliography suggests the core competence of most of those whose authority is invoked by publicists lies outside the realm of climate modeling.
Lindzen is no stranger to technical controversy, having over the years posed many novel and scientifically interesting objections to the common wisdom in the climate change debate, focusing on how rising amounts of atmospheric water vapor could curb the rate of man made temperature rise. But each of his serial objections has been coherently replied to in the peer-reviewed science literature. Good scientist that he is, Lindzen has accepted as valid many quantitative objections to his theoretical views, and altered his stance accordingly.
That’s how science works- the iconoclast who lauded Crichton’s State of Fear on the floor of Congress no longer defends many talking points that the yack-TV pundits still cleave to. Though scarcely part of the “consensus” that so dismays the idiotarian blogosphere, he has alienated many in it—as I hope I have—by committing the unpardonable political sin of allowing scientific facts to change his mind.
This has yet to register with the talking heads on FOX, and Limbaugh’s fans will spout his line on climate until the seas run dry, boil, or freeze over. Little wonder Marc Morano, Rush’s scientific casting director, became ringmaster of Inhofe’s public policy circus. But what about Lindzen’s impact on his colleagues views? The National Academy has over a thousand members, and Lindzen has had 20 years to persuade them that man-made warming remains too uncertain to be a serious issue. Like most respectable skeptics, he began by questioning warming’s detectable existence, and pointing out that negative feedbacks could curb it in models and reality alike.
Ask around the Academy as to how many Lindzen has won over, and you will discover that the answer is closer to none than a dozen. 
The same is true on Lindzen’s home turf. Another MIT professor, with an office a minute away from Lindzen’s, shares the view that the Climate Wars have become egregiously politicized and that climate models are sorely constrained. Yet in a quarter-century of daily interaction, Lindzen has failed to persuade fellow MIT climate scientist Kerry Emanuel that global warming is “not a big deal.”
Emanuel is a far cry from a liberal icon. MIT is not Harvard, and like Lindzen, and many others in high-tech establishments like MIT, Emanuel harshly criticized Carl Sagan’s attempt to use a primitive climate model as a policy lever during the Cold War, calling “nuclear winter” studies “notorious for their lack of scientific integrity ” in the pages of Nature in 1986. Bear that bipartisan commitment to the integrity of science in mind as you consider “Phaetons’ Reins,” his overview of what the climate wars have come to. I recommend making the detour to read it because the atmosphere is the Earth’s most complex dynamic system, and there is no way I can do justice to the debate in so few words as I have here.
Should it evoke a certain sense of déjà vu, you can confirm it by reviewing “A War Against Fire,” a report from the front I wrote for the (then-) echt conservative quarterly The National Interest long before Gore started running for Environmental President. Its conclusion stands. If any species of principle is at once worth conserving and profoundly endangered, it is that the political neutrality of scientific institutions must first exist in order to be respected.
While the Wall Street Journal and other conservative must-reads remain willing to run words critical of media hype and politicized science on the left, all are in denial about the fact that conservatives are quitting the field in the Science Wars, abandoning intellectually serious engagement in favor of posturing on TV and preaching to the choir on op-ed pages that increasingly have no in-house science editors—or fact checkers—to whom to turn.
The results can be painfully comic, but they embody what Jefferson noted three centuries ago: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.” The information explosion has merely expanded the scope of the rhetorical carnage. The disdain shown science by ill-informed conservatives and intransigent liberals slugging it out in the TV trenches less recalls Jefferson’s fears than Thucydides’ view of an earlier conflict:
“The state which separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.” 
Different as Republican and Democrat world views may be,   there can be no armistice in the Climate Wars until both sides acknowledge that, from the atmosphere’s point of view, there can be, at most, one kind of physics.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

                   A  SILENT  NIGHT  ON  FOUR  CONTINENTS

IT  WASN'T  A  FIT  NIGHT  OUT  FOR  SLED  OR  REINDEER  AS  SNOWLESS  NEW  ENGLAND
  EXPERIENCED   RECORD  70  DEGREE  WARMTH  ON  CHRISTMAS  EVE
A  SATELLITE  WIND  MAP  CENTERED  ON SANTA'S HQ  SHOWS  
THE  CALM BEFORE THE WARM

 THE  YO-YO  NEWS OF THE  WORLD , 1933  EDITION

AS  DAMASCUS  BASKED  IN ITS  YO-YO  INDUCED  WINTER DROUGHT,

 CINCINNATI  LISTENED  RAPTLY  TO  THE  CLIMATE  WISDOM  OF 

PROFESSOR CLARENCE A. MILLS :


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

ONLY A  YO-YO  WOULD  ACCUSE  CFACT OF FACT-CHECKING

Marc Morano  recently upstaged Donald Trump on Fox News by re-spinning the ISIS climate connection:
In 1933 the government of Syria banned the  yo-yo, because they  thought  yo-yos  cause  draught, and  now they want to ban  coal plants  and  SUV's.
The source? The Damascus Daily? The Beirut Star? The Jerusalem Post ?  The National Enquirer?  How about that great Broken Hill, New South Wales newspaper of record:

Here's the sadly duller Times of London lede on which the tale was based:





                                       ARE THEY RELATED ?


Sunday, December 20, 2015

MILITARIZING  MICROAGRESSION FOR THE  CLIMATE  WARS


       The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 
has somehow failed to address the major dementias encountered in Climate Wars  battlefield medicine. Triage suggests starting with:

DSM Diagnostic Codes for Existential Threat Disorders

 Miscellaneous Causes
    NOS = Not Otherwise Specified. 
    V62.3 Academic Problem 
    V62.4 Acculturation Problem
    404.1 Reading Mother Jones 
    308.3 Acute Thermal Stress Disorder                                                                           (at rates >1 microdegree/hour)
Existenial Threat  Inflation Adjustment  Disorders
    309.9 Unspecified Threat Inflation
    309.2 Acute Innumeracy With Anxiety 
    309.0 With Depressed Mood 
    309.3 With Disturbance of Conduct 
    309.28 With Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Focus Group Mood 
    309.4 With Mixed Disturbance of Emotions and Conduct
V71.01 Adult Antisocial Behavior (blood throwing)
143.21 Messianic Climate Reality Syndrome
995.2  Adverse Effects of Vegan Diet
780.9  Stockholm Fever Related Cognitive Decline 
300.2 Agoraphlia Without History of Panic Disorder

921.3  Hyperthermia by Proxy

                     IT'S  CHRISTMAS  TIME  IN  THE  CITE' !

THE   BONUS SEASON  HAS BEGUN,  AS  CAROLING  CLIMATE  HUSTLERS   EXTEND  THEIR  PALMS  AT  THE  CFACT - HEARTLAND  PARIS  FETE DE NOEL
~ $200,000     ~$150,000    L8000 a speech  $1,667/ month   $5,000/month ~$7,000/month  
NO  EXTRA  CHARGE  FOR  THE  BEAR ]

                                  NEW  YORK  TIMES  EDITOR
        TAKES  INTERESTING POSITION ON ASSAULT WEAPONS

Back when CO2 was below 300 ppm, cooler editorial heads prevailed:
ON THIS DAY
from The New York Times 

n July 13, 1863, anti-draft violence erupted in New York City, resulting in four days of bloodshed, arson, looting, and mayhem... the Peace wing of the Democratic Party...had been distributing pamphlets and organizing public rallies that denounced the war, emancipation, blacks, Lincoln, and Republicans...

hundreds of the city's white workingmen marched in protest...A company of volunteer firemen, angry over losing their traditional exemption from conscription, demolished and burned the draft office...The anti-draft zealots then went on an arson spree targeting homes of...well-known Republicans, looting as they went.  


At  Newspaper  Row ,  across  from  City  Hall , Henry  Raymond, owner and editor of The New York Times, averted the rioters with Gatling guns, one of which he manned.  The mob instead attacked ... abolitionist  Horace Greeley's  New York Tribune 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

SHUT UP AND EAT YOUR BACON, CAPTAIN PLANET


Want to feel really green?
Hold the lettuce next time you order a BLT

Contrary to what Arnold Schwarzenegger told COP21, eating your greens could accelerate global warming : a Carnegie Mellon study finds eating lettuce is more than three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon.

The study finds USDA recommendations to consume more fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood more harmful to the environment because those foods represent relatively high resource use and GHG emissions per calorie. The authors measured changes in energy use, blue water footprint and GHG emissions associated with U.S. food consumption patterns.


“Eating lettuce is over three times worse in greenhouse gas emissions than eating bacon,” said Paul Fischbeck, professor of social and decisions sciences and engineering and public policy. “Lots of common vegetables require more resources per calorie than you would think. Eggplant, celery and cucumbers look particularly bad when compared to pork or chicken.”

  • Michelle S. Tom 
  • Paul S. Fischbeck
  • Chris T. Hendrickson
Abstract
This article measures the changes in energy use, blue water footprint, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with shifting from current US food consumption patterns to three dietary scenarios, which are based, in part, on the 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines (US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Health and Human Services in Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, 7th edn, US Government Printing Office, Washington, 2010). Amidst the current overweight and obesity epidemic in the USA, the Dietary Guidelinesprovide food and beverage recommendations that are intended to help individuals achieve and maintain healthy weight. The three dietary scenarios we examine include (1) reducing Caloric intake levels to achieve “normal” weight without shifting food mix, (2) switching current food mix to USDA recommended food patterns, without reducing Caloric intake, and (3) reducing Caloric intake levels and shifting current food mix to USDA recommended food patterns, which support healthy weight. This study finds that shifting from the current US diet to dietary Scenario 1 decreases energy use, blue water footprint, and GHG emissions by around 9 %, while shifting to dietary Scenario 2 increases energy use by 43 %, blue water footprint by 16 %, and GHG emissions by 11 %. Shifting to dietary Scenario 3, which accounts for both reduced Caloric intake and a shift to the USDA recommended food mix, increases energy use by 38 %, blue water footprint by 10 %, and GHG emissions by 6 %. These perhaps counterintuitive results are primarily due to USDA recommendations for greater Caloric intake of fruits, vegetables, dairy, and fish/seafood, which have relatively high resource use and emissions per Calorie.