New Concepts – Constructive Ideas

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Some years ago, my esteemed colleague and friend Edgar Gärtner coined the concept Eco Nihilism, describing it as the worst threat to common sense in the environmental debate, and consequently to the environment.

I somehow love innovative, conclusive expressions.

This is a new one Noble Cause Corruption, coined by Anthony Watts. (Too noble to take credit, however.)

Read the article to get the whole picture, but let me give you some highlights:

ANTHONY WATTS: There’s a term that was used to describe this. It’s called noble cause corruption. And actually I was a victim of that at one time, where you’re so fervent you’re in your belief that you have to do something. You’re saving the planet, you’re making a difference, you’re making things better that you’re so focused on this goal of fixing it or changing it that you kind of forget to look along the path to make sure that you haven’t missed some things.

and, in this interview, made by Spencer Michels, he goes on with some important observations:

I started looking into the idea that weather stations have been slowly encroached upon by urbanization and sighting issues over the last century. Meaning that our urbanization affected the temperature. And this was something that was very clear if you looked at the temperature records. But what wasn’t clear is how it affected the trend of temperatures. And so that’s been something that I’ve been investigating. Anyone who’s ever stood next to a building in the summertime at night, a brick building that’s been out in the summer sun, you stand next to it at nigh,t you can feel the heat radiating off of it. That’s a heat sync effect. And over the last 100 years our country, in fact the world, has changed. We’ve gone from having mostly a rural agrarian society to one that is more urban and city based and as a result the infrastructure has increased. We’ve got more freeways, you know more airports, we’ve got more buildings. Got more streets, all these things. Those are all heat syncs. During the day, solar insulation hits these objects and these surfaces and it stores heat in these objects. At night it releases that heat. Now if you are measuring temperature in a city that went from having uh maybe 10% of um, non-permeable surface to you know maybe 90% over 100 years, that’s a heat sync effect and that should show up in the record. The problem is, is that it’s been such a slow subtle change over the last 100 years. It’s not easy to detect and that’s been the challenge and that’s what I’ve been working on.

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About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.

One Comment
  1. Liam

    Du Rietz can’t spell “sink” or “insolation”, so it’s hardly surprising that he’s failed to keep up with the research of the last 20 years that has proven the urban heat island effect is not the cause of the observed warming,

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