29 November 2009

No Ice Water for You

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the "policy neutral" IPCC (does anyone take this seriously?), suggests that responding to climate change means dramatically changing our unsustainable lifestyles:

Hotel guests should have their electricity monitored; hefty aviation taxes should be introduced to deter people from flying; and iced water in restaurants should be curtailed, the world's leading climate scientist has told the Observer.

Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warned that western society must undergo a radical value shift if the worst effects of climate change were to be avoided. A new value system of "sustainable consumption" was now urgently required, he said.

"Today we have reached the point where consumption and people's desire to consume has grown out of proportion," said Pachauri. "The reality is that our lifestyles are unsustainable."

With the head of the IPCC saying that you can't have ice water in restaurants, the opponents to action on climate change can probably go on vacation. They just can't buy advocacy of this quality.

If the climate science community is going to reverse the perception that it is a highly politicized clique, then it will at some point be necessary to reign in the IPCC leadership from being overt political advocates.


  1. Brings to mind the old saying about Puritanism -- the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy. Climate activists are the new Puritans.

  2. It's not enough to silence them. Comments like this are going to continue to haunt IPCC if enough of the right sort of people start expecting organizations like this to be apolitical. They'll have to go if this organization is going to regain any sort of credibility- if they are just silenced, then we'll just have an even secretive culture surrounding these sorts of organizations.

  3. Rein in? He represents them perfectly. Just as Jim Hansen and his coal "death trains" represents them perfectly. These two fine gentlemen are just following the logic of their beliefs. If the apocalypse really was just around the corner, then there would be a real need to shut down all coal-fired power plants in this country tomorrow. It would also be necessary to take 90% of our cars off the road. I have far less problem with the kooks who follow the logic of their beliefs than I do with the kooks who think we can cut down significantly on the CO2 content of the atmosphere by using squirrely light bulbs.

  4. Mike, I think you've put your finger on it: a whole lot of climate activists seem to start from the position that people ought not Have So Much, and proceed from there to find a reason why.

    Roger, what do you think then of Hulme's suggestion that IPCC may have outlived its usefulness?

  5. Keeping people from flying is fine.. let's start with those flying to climate change conferences.. including Copenhagen.

  6. Ice Water is part of an Unsustainable Life Style according to Rajendra Pachauri. Hmmmm.

    Ok. Going with the Big Raj’s theory, then the glass that holds the water and the table that the glass is placed upon are part of an Unsustainable Lifestyle. Oh, that table cloth is straight out. No napkins either (Big Raj’s little known sub-theory that you wear-what-you-eat). And that nasty old waiter that brought the water is surely part of the scenario.

    By logical extension, Big Raj’s theory traces back Unsustainable Life Styles to the discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel.

    Sure hope GEICO doesn’t hear about this theory. They will want Big Raj to play the Cave Man in their next commercial.

  7. So it's crazy, or political, for Pachauri to say "don't drink ice water", but it's sane for deniers to say "pump more oil".
    When I was younger, I did not like to be told what to do, or to have criticism pointed at me. As I've grown, I've learned to listen and learned that I can learn from it.
    What I hear climate deniers say is that it's ok to go to excess, in fact we NEED to go to excess, but only in ways we have in the past. Any change that is not profiting the existing corporate infrastructure is, well, crazy, political, going to destroy our economy, etc.
    Guess I've learned to be a skeptic, but I'm skeptical of those who tell me it's all fine.
    And yes, I still do have fun and smile sometimes.

  8. Pachauri isn't doing a very good job is he? He's a real loose cannon. I guess there will be no hotels for the Copenhagen climate junket - they'll be sleeping in tents, vegetarian food only and, of course, no ice water. No flying, no motorised transport either?

  9. All they say is just making them more ridiculous. IPCC is a runaway train, they simply cannot stop making these silly susgestions, even after they've been revealed as political climate hacks. And Hey! They got the Nobel Prize, so they must be right, right?

  10. 20,000 delegates flying to the Copenhagen Doomfest Junket. All plugged in, all putting ice into their drinks, and all trying to save the planet from themselves.

    We need someone to keep a tally on Rajendra Pachauri expenses - could prove very intertesting.

  11. What Pachauri is saying is that peasants should be priced out of flying, not UN apparatchiks like himself.

    The climate science community is indeed a highly politicized clique.

  12. It is time to disband the IPCC.

  13. "Any change that is not profiting the existing corporate infrastructure is, well, crazy, political, going to destroy our economy, etc."

    Perhaps we should add another category (along with mentioning Hitler) that automatically disqualifies a commenter from the community of the rational. This is just pathetic.

  14. Read the full article. He seems to have no concept as to what are the major sources CO2. Jet fuel certainly isn't one them nor is the production of ice. This guy doesn't sound at all like a scientist.

  15. Roger,

    Since you’ve censored each of my previous 3 comments, let’s see if you are willing to publish just the utterly unvarnished and fully substantiated facts without even pulling Carol Browner’s analogous background into the mix.

    It is sadly amusing to see The Guardian describe Rajendra Pachauri as “the world's leading climate scientist”.

    The fact is that -- other than an honorary degree from the University of New South Wales -- Pachauri holds NO academic degree in ANY branch of science!

    Pachauri was educated in Industrial Engineering!

  16. Let's say there's approximately an ounce of ice in the drink. That would be two moles of water. The enthalpy of freezing of two moles of water is 12 kJ. You'd need another 1.5 kJ to cool the water from 20 C to 0 C and maybe 0.4 kJ to cool the ice from 0 C to a cold freezer temp of - 10 C. Total heat needed to be removed to make the ice for a drink: 14 kJ.

    Freezers have a pretty high Carnot efficiency: that is, you need much less than a kJ of electrical energy to pump out a kJ of heat. On the other hand, power plants are pretty inefficient, so let's call it a wash, and presume you need 14 kJ of heat in the coal-burning power plant to make the 1 oz of ice. I'm being very generous here.

    The enthalpy of combustion of carbon is 400 kJ/mol. So to make your ice, you need to burn about 14/400 = 0.035 mol of coal, or about 0.4 g, and that makes about 1.5 g of CO2. If each person on earth had 1 iced drink a day in a restaurant, it would add about 3 million tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere per year. Eliminating the iced drink would reduce carbon emissions by 1 part in 10,000.

    What fraction of people on earth have an iced drink a day in a restaurant? Maybe 1 in 100? So we're maybe talking 30000 tonnes of CO2, or one part in a million of total CO2 emissions.

    Last estimate I saw for the carbon footprint of the 2010 World Cup was nearly 3 million tonnes, if you include international travel.

  17. -16-RWP

    Many thanks, very interesting!

    Though while I allow many comments to appear on this blog, dissing the World Cup, even the perception of such, will just not be tolerated ;-)

  18. Jeffery- not being a denier, I can't tell what they are thinking, and I don't support excess and waste.

    However, I do support spiritual institutions that reflect with me on the right way to lead my life in terms of consumption, as well as everything else about life.

    I'm just not taking advice from random people who preach at me about how to live my life. Especially when their claim of knowledge is "science", not lessons from the wisdom of Earth's spiritual traditions.

    I used to work with a guy who would edit any "shoulds" out of drafts of scientific assessments. He didn't think the role of scientists was to tell people what to do. At the time I thought he was a bit dogmatic. In retrospect, I think I should erect a statue of him and burn some incense..

  19. At the risk of being declared insane by -10-Jeffrey, I say “pump more oil” -- because (to be very, very brief):

    1) CO2 is nothing to worry about.

    2) There is no shortage of available hydrocarbons.

    And, I haven’t even quantified the rapidly expanding proven reserves in natural gas resources.

    3) Demand for more oil will continue to grow whether we pump more or not. Failing to “pump more oil” will merely mean higher energy costs, more damage to the global economy and more human suffering.

    4) The USA is NOT where the demand for oil is growing. So, unless you hate poor people in developing third world countries, you too should advocate for “pump more oil”.

    5) Click here for the rest of the story and all the citations and substantiating links.

  20. Not to throw cold water, you might say, on the analysis, but the inefficiency and efficiency characterizations are backwards.

    Transferring energy from a low temperature to a higher, i e cooling, requires more energy than for from higher to lower, i e making electricity. To get 14 kJ of electricity requires about 35 kJ of energy input. But it's too early for me to do the remainder of the arithmetic.

  21. Roger, re the calculations of RWP, the IPCC reports the carbon footprint of the Copenhague conference is about 40.000 ton of CO2-eq. So, according with RWP numbers, is much better to cancel the conference than banning ice-cubes worldwide

    See http://unfccc.int/press/fact_sheets/items/5055.php


  22. Actually, to say something nice about the World Cup, which currently is very hard for an Irishman, it has a lower carbon footprint than the Copenhagen conference! Chances of either breaking out into spontaneous hooliganism are however about equal.

    @edaniel; a refrigerator is a heat engine running in reverse. A heat engine running forward uses a larger amount of heat to do a smaller amount of work. A heat engine in reverse (a heat pump, which is what a refrigerator is) uses a smaller amount of work to move a larger quantity of heat.

    Any decent thermodynamics textbook will explain this further.

  23. -22-RWP

    Well, that makes a lot of difference;-) I feel for you. I'm all for a 33rd team in South Africa. A reply would have been the right thing to do, Henry and Wenger were right.

  24. Good God, the Colorado Buffs have driven a perfectly nice Colorado boy into the arms of soccer.

  25. -24-StY


    You apparently did not read the OAQs:

    My Buff Club membership is in good standing as well;-)

  26. RWP

    The hand of God (Maradonna)can sometimes be cruel. The world cup isn't what it used to be. Scotland haven't really tried to qualify since 1998 for that reason. We don't care.