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PostSam Noble Museum; Thoughts on Climate Change (Richard Hancock, USA, 12/07/15 7:39 am)
One of our great local treasures is the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at the University of Oklahoma, which was built in 2000 with money from oilman Sam Noble and other wealthy Oklahomans. Director Michael Mares wrote in the Fall Newsletter that the Sam Noble Museum was one of two museums in the US that were invited to the Best in Heritage conference on September 24-26, a total of of 28 museums located in 25 countries, in Dubrovnik, Croatia. As one of 28 laureates, Mares gave a presentation, "From Barns and Stables to Best Heritage."
Nancy, who is a museum docent, and I came to Norman in 1964. We were aware of the tremendous science collections housed in old stables that dated from the time that the University was formed in 1895. We learned that this collection was worth millions of dollars and the administration worried it would be destroyed should those old buildings catch fire or be struck by a tornado. This is a natural science museum that features the natural environment with dinosaurs, mastodons, sabre-tooth tigers, etc. as well as Native American artifacts and languages, and more. We also learned that this collection is partly owed to the fact that the OU geology department is the oldest and largest in the US, and its graduates arranged for great numbers of fossil artifacts to be collected by the museum. This happened because we are one of the country's largest producers of petroleum, and OU geologists were everywhere in the state and throughout the world.
In this same newsletter, Mares has an article entitled, "Science Matters." He says that it is clear that the planet is warming, and that, from 2012-13, of 2000 scientific articles published on climate change, 1,999 relate that climate change is being caused by human activities and only one, by a single scientist, was on the other side of the argument. He publishes a graph showing that the Global Land-Ocean Temperature index has increased .4ºC since 1880.
I have known that the C02 was increasing in the atmosphere for a long time, probably since 1970. What I have felt is that we should proceed with care to stop its growth. I don't think that we can wreck our economy doing all the things that fanatic environmentalists recommend. While a .4ºC increase seems quite strong, changes during the various cooling and heating periods that this planet has experienced have been many times greater. Clearly the planet has warmed and cooled repeatedly over the millennia, including times before the human factor could possibly be considered. I agree with Bill Gates when he says that we need to do much more research before we start implementing extreme environmental programs.
The November 23 Oklahoman published a letter from Leon Zelby, who is professor emeritus at OU's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He said, "In 1976-77, while on sabbatical at the Institute for Energy Analysis at Oak Ridge, TN, I analyzed the energy required to build windmills and their respective lifetimes." He stated, "The study confirmed at least one of the laws of thermodynamics, which in the vernacular says that you can't get something for nothing; i.e., the energy required to build these devices, including production of respective components, was greater than the energy produced in their lifetimes." Personally, I feel that ethanol also fits this same description. This statement by Zelby supports Gates' statement that we need more research before we start putting renewable energy resources in production mode at the expense of fossil fuels.
JE comments: This has started out as the warmest Michigan December in years. At least it's warmer and drier than last year. I read that Buffalo, New York, the snowiest city in the country, has not yet had a measurable snowfall. Contrast this with last year's "Snowvember" blizzard.
I'm not trying to make a broader point with the above paragraph; I simply want to say that it's been warm this year.
But Richard: aren't windmills a good thing?