Sunday, July 27, 2008

Polar cities makes front page of Colorado newspaper: Joey Stanford interview




Polar cities makes front page of Colorado newspaper: Joey Stanford interview

The first time a mainstream newspaper in the USA printed news about polar cities. Bravo, Longmont Times-Call editors! And bravo, Joey Stanford!

13 comments:

dan said...

A reporter asks:

1) What type of power do you see running this city, solar, wind, wave....?


Whatever is most effective to meet the environment and is sustainable.
In some areas we looked at, Geothermal is a popular choice. We
certainly don't want to use a power source that will contribute to the
carbon footprint. We would probably use a mix of sources for
redundancy purposes if we can afford it.


> 2.)Where would the power sources be set up in your city?


Whatever is most effective to meet the environment while not posing
any health or safety issues. Solar for instance could be on the roof
while geothermal might need to be a few kilometers away.


> 3.) I notice that you refer to living spaces as "dorms" do you mean
> apartments or is it set up like a college dorm setting.


Due to our desire to keep costs down while housing as many as
possible, a college dorm setting is most effecient. We haven't
determined yet if each will be "en suite" or have community
lavatories. Survivability is the key point so some creature comforts
would probably not make it into the final design. We've been tossing
around the idea a cruise ship-like compartment: a small en suite room
with a window (but larger than a porthole). Interestingly this is a
similar concept to Japanese hotels where space is at a premium.


> 4) Does your complex include employment and entertainment (movies,
> concert venues, bars...) venues?


We haven't explored employment areas yes (other than those required to
run the city) but this is certainly a possibility. We expect the
cities to be very self-sustainable but also extensible. It's possible
we could see something that is currently done in India: a major
employer like IBM could build a polar city with work complex and a
residential complex connected.

Recreation facilities are on the drawing board but we don't yet know
what this will look like in the final iteration. Our current thinking
is a multi-use facility that will be a gymnasium, movie theatre,
performing arts stage, etc..


> 5) You have security so what kind of dangers do you for see? Are
> these dangers from nonresidents, wildlife, derelicts?


We have discussed internal and external security concepts but only to
the minimal extent needed. With people living in tight quarters, it
won't take long to get to know your neighbors on your block. Entryway
security will most likely be a mix of man and physical (cctv and door
locks) to process visitors and returning residents but also to scare
away any local wildilfe that might be considered a threat to any of
the inhabitants. We would gladly trade in a security person for a
trained therapist to counsel those who find life's outlook bleak.
Security needs will vary based on location and if a city has a
targeted resident class (e.g. corporation sponsored cities would not
need much security but one housing christians and muslims might).


> 6) Is your city more like Babylon 5 where all can live and work (or in
> other words various socioeconomic levels)?


As above.


> 7) Is this an exclusive gated community for the very wealthy?


An excellent question. One of our biggest internal questions is "who
will manage these facilities?" For example, would it be a private
foundation or the United Nations? Would each country run their own or
would it be corporation sponsored? Ideally everyone who enters a
Polar City would be as equal as the next person but the sponsorship of
each facility might impose additional restrictions. If we can get
good at efficient low-cost yet durable construction it would be easier
to construct these cities so that almost anyone could afford to be
there and large governments could build several for low-income
families and refugees.


> 8) Besides tube travel, what type of travel within the city will be
> included? Bicycles, skytran, ....?


The primary means of locomotion will be walking with lifts for the elderly.

dan said...

Those were Joey answers.

Anonymous said...

July 29, 2008 | Polar Cities, Part I: background need for survivability

By Susan Wilson





Imagine the world, as we know it, has come to an end due to global warming. Much of the world has been radically changed by the rising of the oceans. Life has devolved to survivability and little else. Welcome to Polar City.

Polar City is the name given to a series of high density sustainable living facilities envisioned by The Polar Cities Research Project. The Polar Cities Research Project was started in 2007 by Danny Bloom. Danny is a climate blogger who currently lives in Taiwan. He is assisted in his research by volunteers who try to envision the needs of a population three to five hundred years in the future.

Each Polar City would be located along the arctic circle in Alaska, Canada, Russia, Norway and Iceland. The Cities would be able to house large populations in safety. As with most doomsday scenarios, security will be a major issue in the future as livable land and food resources become scarce.

The basic premise takes the idea of global warming to the limit, envisioning most of the earth as no longer habitable except at the polar extremes. The parts of the planet currently inhabited would be either too hot or too flooded for human habitation, hence the need for polar cities.

British scientist Dr. James Lovelock, self described “independent scientist, environmentalist, author and researcher”, was the first to posit the Gaia Theory in the 1960s, of earth as a self-regulating living organism. In an online chat, September 29, 2000, Lovelock described Gaia in the following way,

So far as Gaia is concerned, humans are not special. We’re just another species. There is a strong ethic attached to Gaia, and that is that the species that lives well with its environment favours it for its progeny and the species that fouls the environment spoils it for its progeny and goes extinct.

He was one of the first scientists to discuss global warming and what these effects might mean for Earth. Many of his theories and ideas resulted from his work for NASA in the 1960’s and 70’s. He developed several sensitive instruments to analyze the atmospheres and surfaces of other planets to determine the viability of other planets to sustain life.

The Polar Cities Project has named the online images of a proposed Polar City, The James E. Lovelock Virtual Museum of Polar City Images, in honor of Dr. James Lovelock’s work and research. The images included online were drawn by Deng Cheng-hong.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Entry was posted on Tuesday, July 29th, 2008 at 12:04 am under Green Technology, Science and technology. Print This Post

Anonymous said...

climate hideout

related words for headlines

climate cave, climate den, climate haven, climate hideaway, refuge, retreat, Climate sanctuary, shelter

protection, safeguard, security,

depot, shelter, asylum, haven, , refuge, retreat, sanctuary, sanctum

harbor, haven, hideaway, hideout, hostel, lodging, port, protection,
quarters, refuge, retreat, safeguard, safety, sanctuary,

harborage,

climate chamber

accommodation, atrium, cabinet, cell, compartment, cubicle, den,
dormitory, parlor,

climate cubicle

climate portal

gateway

grotto

climate scheme

climate anchorage,

climate asylum,

hideout,

climate oasis,

roadstead, sanctuary, shelter

Climate Shangri-la,

Climate eden,

heaven, paradise

utopia

climate bliss

dan said...

sanctum
oasis

haven, hideaway, oasis, port, preserve,

Anonymous said...

’Few seem to realise that the present IPCC models predict almost unanimously that by 2040 the average summer in Europe will be as hot as the summer of 2003 when over 30,000 died from heat. By then we may cool ourselves with air conditioning and learn to live in a climate no worse than that of Baghdad now. But without extensive irrigation the plants will die and both farming and natural ecosystems will be replaced by scrub and desert. What will there be to eat? The same dire changes will affect the rest of the world and I can envisage Americans migrating into Canada and the Chinese into Siberia but there may be little food for any of them.’ ––Dr James Lovelock’s lecture to the Royal Society, 29 Oct. ’07

Anonymous said...

Krugman almost gets 'Economics of catastrophe'
Review of climate change impact economics
Posted by Joseph Romm (Guest Contributor) at 4:19 PM on 30 Jul 2008
Read more about: climate | climate science | climate change impacts | greenhouse-gas emissions
Tools: print | email | + digg | + del.icio.us | + reddit | + stumbleupon
Paul Krugman has a blog post about one of my favorite economists, Marty Weitzman. He has the central point right, which is that "on any sort of expected-welfare calculation, the small probability of catastrophe dominates the expected loss."

But Krugman's general lack of understanding of global warming -- and his willingness to believe anything Bjørn Lomborg says -- undermines his entire analysis:


Bjorn Lomborg ... says that climate change will reduce world GDP by less than 0.5%, so it's not worth spending a lot on mitigation.

Weitzman's point is, first, that we don't actually know that: a small loss may be the most likely outcome given what we know now, but there's some chance that things will be much worse. (Marty surveys the existing climate models, and suggests that they give about a 1% probability to truly catastrophic change, say a 20-degree centigrade rise in average temperature.)

... Suppose that there's a 99% chance that Lomborg is right, but a 1% chance that catastrophic climate change will reduce world GDP by 90%. You might be tempted to disregard that small chance -- but if you're even moderately risk averse (say, relative risk aversion of 2 -- econowonks know what I mean), you quickly find that the expected loss of welfare isn't 0.5% of GDP, it's 10% or more of GDP.
Well, "yes," on the final point, but "no" on every other point.

Indeed, a 20°C rise in average global temperature -- which translates to perhaps 50°F warming over much of the inland U.S. -- is "James Lovelock" territory where "the Earth's population will be culled from today's 6.6 billion to as few as 500 million." Catastrophic climate change is anything significantly over 3°C, which is not a 1 percent chance, but a near certainty if we don't reverse greenhouse gas emissions sharply and soon.

Lomborg, of course, does not have anywhere near a 99 percent chance of being right that "climate change will reduce world GDP by less than 0.5%." Indeed, if we actually followed Lomborg's do-nothing prescription, then he has precisely a zero chance of being right. He is a pure disinformer.

Weitzman's analysis is, however, very important for traditionally economists -- and everyone else -- to understand, so let me reprint my September post, Harvard economist disses most climate cost-benefit analyses, below:

Harvard economist Martin Weitzman [PDF] has a new paper [PDF]in which he points out that the vast majority of conventional economic analyses of climate change should carry the following label:

Warning: to be used only for cost-benefit analysis of non-extreme climate change possibilities. Not intended to cover welfare evaluation of extreme tail possibilities, for which a complete accounting might produce arbitrarily different welfare outcomes.
In short, if you don't factor in plausible worst-case scenarios -- and the vast majority of economic analyses don't (this means you, William Nordhaus [PDF], and you, too, Bjørn Lomborg) -- your analysis is useless. Pretty strong stuff for a Harvard economist!



The extreme, or fat tail, of the damage function (see figure above) represents what Weitzman calls "rare climate disasters," although as we'll see, they probably aren't that rare. For Weitzman, disaster is a temperature change of greater than 6°C (11°F) in a century, as he explains in an earlier paper [PDF] on the Stern Review on the economics of climate change:

With roughly 3% IPCC-4 probability, we will consume a terra incognita biosphere within a hundred years whose mass species extinctions, radical alterations of natural environments, and other extreme outdoor consequences of a different planet will have been triggered by a geologically-instantaneous temperature change that is signicantly larger than what separates us now from past ice ages.
Weitzman says the IPCC Fourth Assessment gives the probability of such an "extreme" temperature change as 3 percent, and that "to ignore or suppress the signicance of rare tail disasters is to ignore or suppress what economic theory is telling us loudly and clearly is potentially the most important part of the analysis" -- more important than the discount rate.

For me, what is especially alarming about Weitzman's analysis is that I have argued there is a far greater chance than 3 percent that we will have a total warming of 6°C or more in a century or so if we don't reverse emissions trends soon. That's because failure to act quickly means carbon cycle feedbacks will kick in by mid-century, escalating greenhouse-gas concentrations and temperatures well beyond standard IPCC projections. Put another way, if we don't stabilize below 500 ppm of carbon-dioxide emissions (we are at 380 today and were at 280 preindustrial), we will probably soar to at least 800 ppm in a century, if not 1000 ppm or more. Losing either the permafrost or the Amazon is sufficient to take us to 1000.

Weitzman's paper [PDF], "Structural Uncertainty and the Value of Statistical Life in the Economics of Catastrophic Climate Change", is not for the general reader. His discussion of the Stern Review [PDF], however, covers many of the same points and is, I think, accessible to anyone who took an economics class or two in college, especially if you first read John Quiggin (here and here [PDF]).

It is worth noting that while Weitzman is critical of how Stern chose the key discount rate parameters, he still thinks that Stern is mostly right for the "wrong reasons" -- because the "the implications of large consequences with small probabilities" -- like the many scenarios of catastrophic climate change (ice sheet instability, tundra melting) -- matter more than the choice of discount rate.

That said, the mainstream economic policy think tank -- Resources for the Future (RFF) -- wrote a major report [PDF], "An Even Sterner Review," that concluded, "we find no strong objections to the discounting assumptions adopted in the Stern Review" (a point I have made, also, based on Quiggin). It also concluded Stern could have used "rising relative prices" from future scarcity to get the same result. The RFF report pointed out:

If we were to combine the low discount rates in the Stern Review with rising relative prices, the conclusions would favor even higher levels of abatement. This would in fact lead us to consider some of the levels of carbon content that Stern deems unrealistic, that is, aiming for a target of less than 450 ppm CO2 equivalents.
Now what I would like to see is a cost-benefit analysis combining a moderate discount rate with RFF's rising relative prices and Weitzman's "extreme climate change possibilities."

I'm sure that such a comprehensive economic analysis would vindicate Stern again and drive us toward a target of 450 ppm or lower -- which means we must peak in global emissions by 2020. The time to act is now. Economics demands it.

Update: Let me be clear that a 3°C to 4°C total warming from preindustrial levels -- which takes us to the same temperature the planet had the last time sea levels were 80 feet higher -- would be an unmitigated catastrophe for the planet -- that is Hansen's point. My point in this post is just that if we get that warm, the feedbacks will probably take us to 6°C warming a few decades later.

Update 2: Weitzman has toned down the piece in his next draft, so you won't see his strong warning. Oh well. I guess I'll have to dis Lomborg and Nordhaus myself! Stay tuned.

Hat tip to Mark Shapiro.

This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.




For story: Krugman almost gets 'Economics of catastrophe'
2 Comments | Post a Comment
tail effects

Joseph,
While I understand that many of the plausible tail-end scenarios effects are certainly in the worst-case category, aren't there plenty of plausible positive examples as well, i.e. of catastrophe's averted due to higher temperatures (e.g. different hurricane paths, increased ag production to offset famines elsewhere, stuff I can't really think of/predict)?

Of course most of the tail effects are negative--particularly the effects of higher sea levels (but even in that case, won't we in many instances get cooler ocean temperatures as a result of the melted ice?).

What I mean to say is that calculating the tail effects is a tricky business, and I don't think factoring in plausible 'best-case' scenarios would change the end result, but it certainly creates a more intellectually robust report.



by greentiger at 5:43 PM on 30 Jul 2008



Reverse Lottery


Planning for remote catastrophe is like playing the lottery. The odds of winning a lottery make it seem illogical to bet, but the payoff can be so life changing and the cost so low (almost zero) that you might as well play it.
The same type of thing holds true for disaster planning....yes, the odds of these things happening are low, but, if say, you asked people to put $5 of their tax money into a Global Warming Fighting Fund almost all would say "sure". And this is the premise on which all insurance schemes are based on.

The problem lies when one is presented with multiple lotteries or multiple disaster scenarios.

For example, if I only consider my state lotto for $2, I should play every week for a total of $100 a year. But what about the other states? And what about the Daily Lotto? And Keno? And so it goes...at what point could I better use a few hundred dollars a year for guaranteed pleasure like buying an mp3 player or a big screen tv instead of a lottery ticket?

Same with disasters. If it were only a few dollars, sure...but then there is this disaster prevention and that. Where does it end?




by jabailo at 10:59 PM on 30 Jul 2008

Anonymous said...

"I'm sure that such a comprehensive economic analysis would vindicate Stern again and drive us toward a target of 450 ppm or lower -- which means we must peak in global emissions by 2020. The time to act is now. Economics demands it.

Update: Let me be clear that a 3°C to 4°C total warming from preindustrial levels -- which takes us to the same temperature the planet had the last time sea levels were 80 feet higher -- would be an unmitigated catastrophe for the planet -- that is Hansen's point. My point in this post is just that if we get that warm, the feedbacks will probably take us to 6°C warming a few decades later."

JR

Anonymous said...

Mark Shapiro Says:

July 29th, 2008 at 3:41 pm
OT, but Paul Krugman has a must-read at
krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/07/29/economics-of-catastrophe/
about a paper by economist Marty Weitzman
www.nber.org/~confer/2008/si2008/EEE/weitzman.pdf

It’s good that the MSM are looking more closely at the risks, but Krugman (and Weitzman) need help: they think that a 20 deg C rise would be a catastrophe!
(And that 2x CO2 is inevitable). Catastrophe starts way before 20 deg C.

Anonymous said...

Al Gore Places Infant Son In Rocket To Escape Dying Planet
EARTH–Former vice president Al Gore–who for the past three decades has unsuccessfully attempted to warn humanity of the coming destruction of our planet, only to be mocked and derided by the very people he has tried to save–launched his infant son into space Monday in the faint hope that his only child would reach the safety of another world.


“I tried to warn them, but the Elders of this planet would not listen,” said Gore, who in 2000 was nearly banished to a featureless realm of nonexistence for promoting his unpopular message. “They called me foolish and laughed at my predictions. Yet even now, the Midwest is flooded, the ice caps are melting, and the cities are rocked with tremors, just as I foretold. Fools! Why didn’t they heed me before it was too late?”

Al Gore–or, as he is known in his own language, Gore-Al–placed his son, Kal-Al, gently in the one-passenger rocket ship, his brow furrowed by the great weight he carried in preserving the sole survivor of humanity’s hubristic folly.

“There is nothing left now but to ensure that my infant son does not meet the same fate as the rest of my doomed race,” Gore said. “I will send him to a new planet, where he will, I hope, be raised by simple but kindly country folk and grow up to be a hero and protector to his adopted home.”

As the rocket soared through the Gore estate’s retractable solar-paneled roof–installed three years ago to save energy and provide emergency rocket-launch capability in the event that Gore’s campaign to save Earth was unsuccessful–the onetime presidential candidate and his wife, Tipper, stood arm-in-arm, nobly facing their end while gazing up in stoic dignity at the receding rocket, the ecosystem already beginning to collapse around them.

In the final moments before the Earth’s destruction, Gore expressed hope that his son would one day grow up to carry on his mission by fighting for truth, justice, and the American way elsewhere in the universe, using his Earth-given superpowers to become a champion of the downtrodden and a reducer of carbon emissions across the galaxy.

“Perhaps he will succeed where I have failed,” Gore said.

Despite the child’s humble beginnings, experts predict the intergalactic journey may have some extraordinary effects on Kal-Al’s physique, eyesight, and, potentially, his powers of quiet, sensible persuasion.

“On his new planet, Kal-Al’s Earth physiology will react to the radiation of a differently colored sun, causing him to develop abilities far beyond those of mortal men,” political analyst Sig Schuster said. “He will be faster than a speeding Prius, stronger than the existing Superfund program, and able to leap mountains of red tape in a single bound. These superpowers will sustain him in his never-ending battle against conservatives, wealthy industrialists, and other environmental supervillains.”

Although Gore and his wife voiced regrets that they could not accompany their son on his journey, they tried their best to equip Kal-Al for life on his new planet, providing the infant with a Keynote slide-show presentation of all human knowledge, a self-growing crystal fortress from which to monitor glacier shrinkage, and a copy of Al Gore’s 1992 bestseller, Earth In The Balance.

The baby was also wrapped in a blanket emblazoned with the Gore family crest, which, because it is made of Earth materials, will be invulnerable on the new planet. It is hoped that one day it will be fashioned into a colorful costume for the boy to wear while fighting wrongdoers.

“In brightly hued tights, it will be harder for people there to ignore him when he takes on his new planet’s lobbyists, auto manufacturers, and enemies of justice,” Schuster said. “A bold and eye-catching unitard will give Kal-Al, last son of Earth, a formidable tool for protecting his new planet, a power more awesome than any his father could have dreamed of: the power of charisma.”

[Kudos to the Onion.]

Anonymous said...

Paul Krugman
NYTimes
July 2500 AD

Economics of catastrophe

Away from the headlines, there’s a really important discussion going on about how to think about the economics of climate change. The key player is Marty Weitzman, who has made a simple point (albeit using very, very difficult math) that’s nicely summarized at Env-Econ:
Climate change is fundamentally a problem about uncertainty. We are conducting an experiment with our planet by doubling CO2 levels in the atmosphere from pre-industrial levels. Concentrations have not been this high in hundreds of thousands of years. By and large, we don’t know much about the implications. Tackling this uncertainty is crucial. Extreme outcomes — fat tails — matter and should be at the heart of much of research.
You can see how important this point is by looking at the latest from Bjorn Lomborg,
who says that climate change will reduce world GDP by less than 0.5%, so it’s not worth spending a lot on mitigation.
Weitzman’s point is, first, that we don’t actually know that: a small loss may be the most likely outcome given what we know now, but there’s some chance that things will be much worse. (Marty surveys the existing climate models, and suggests that they give about a 1% probability to truly catastrophic change, say a 20-degree centigrade rise in average temperature.)
And here’s the thing: on any sort of expected-welfare calculation, the small probability of catastrophe dominates the expected loss. Suppose that there’s a 99% chance that Lomborg is right, but a 1% chance that catastrophic climate change will reduce world GDP by 90%. You might be tempted to disregard that small chance — but if you’re even moderately risk averse (say, relative risk aversion of 2 — econowonks know what I mean), you quickly find that the expected loss of welfare isn’t 0.5% of GDP, it’s 10% or more of GDP.
The question is, can we mobilize people to make modest sacrifices to protect against low-probability catastrophes in the distant future?

Anonymous said...

see GUARDIAN in UK, AUgust 1, 3008

article by Andrew Simms

"We got only 100 months to solve climate crisis"

DANIELBLOOM said...

How many months now?