9 thoughts on “The Tragedy Of Nepal”

    1. Jeanne Sauber from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Bruce Molnia, US Geological Survey in Reston, Va. argue that the enormous weight of glaciers laying on faults suppress earthquakes and when the ice melts and the water flows away, quakes begin. They say they can prove it. Would you like links? Can you offer any reason to suggest that they are wrong?

      1. Given the politics behind so much AGW “scholarship” at this point, then yes, Sauber and Molnia should provide the data and methodology used in their research to support their position…particularly if the US government used tax dollars to fund any of their research.

      2. Sauber and Molnia made that claim in 2004. It’s been over a decade. I’m sure the proof exists for bob to link. There’s bound to be more to bob’s idea of science rather than failed attempts to appeal to authority.

      3. Thank you, WordPress, for eating my previous lengthy comment.

        It consisted, in part, of this quote from NASA Goddard about the Sauber/Molina paper (emphasis mine):

        “Even though shrinking glaciers make it easier for earthquakes to occur, the forcing together of tectonic plates is the main reason behind major earthquakes.”

        Isostatic adjustment in North America following the retreat of the Laurentide ice sheet has been measured at a current maximum of around .72 cm per year uplift in Canada and approximately .27 cm per year drop in and around the tri-state area of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

        The rate of slip between the Indian Plate and the Eurasian Plate is a net of approximately 1.2 cm per year, with the Indian Plate moving around 2 cm per year and the Eurasian Plate moving away around .78 cm per year.

        Even if we were to assume that the melting of glaciers in the Himalayas created a rebound rate as great as that in Canada (which is highly unlikely, considering much of the mass is still sitting up in the mountains in glacial lakes), the data just don’t exist to say which side of the fault is affected more than the other by the glacier melt.

        At best, comparing the effects of glacial weight on a collision violent enough to create the Himalayan Mountains is akin to comparing the relative crash effects between two light, aluminum, unibody cars to those between two heavy, steel, body-on-frame cars.

  1. …reduce growth in societal wealth… kills.


    Colonizing mars with public companies adds the wealth of an entire world to our own. Delay is unethical because it kills.

    A few billion in expense could lead to trillions in returns within a century driving down costs all the while.

  2. In 2007, Germans paid $0.26/kWh compared to US $0.11/kWh http://www.eia.gov/countries/prices/electricity_households.cfm

    German households use less than 1/3 the electric energy as US households. http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/average-household-electricity-consumption

    The implicit high tax rate of in-kind taxes implicit in a high-renewable minimum generation does lead to economic distortions. Given that renewables simply cost more, this implicit carbon tax is only going to be able to be off set in part by lower taxes in the rest of the German economy.

    Your canard that this will lead to less wealth to spend on helping earthquake victims is not supported however. If we estimate the deadweight loss of this shift in electric power usage at 1% of German GDP (which may be high because energy efficiency in electric load is not too expensive) Germany’s likely decrease in giving is likely to be around 1%.

    The more interesting point is that if development NGOs advocate green power initiatives that cost double of carbon intense power options, then poor countries will be impoverished directly.

    Nepal is completely outside this rubric paying 2.5% of GDP for energy consumption (however wood users pay 10-15%) and only 23% of Nepalese use electricity, gas or kerosene for cooking fuel. https://esmap.org/sites/esmap.org/files/Report_FuelUseMulticountryStudy_05.pdf (pp.6,7 and 20). For all of the joy of the wood users using a carbon neutral renewable energy source (assuming the wood grows back), they certainly seem to need direct investment in electrification. The US had 13% electrification about 100 years ago (search “household electrification by year us 1900 1910”, the Global Fortune link p. 75).

    1. I spent two years in Germany. There isn’t much need for air conditioning there. That alone will account for a sizeable amount of the difference in energy consumption compared to the US. When I was there (78-80), many homes didn’t even own refrigerators because the housewives did most of their shopping daily at the local markets.

      For what it’s worth, Wikipedia puts the price of electricity in Germany at 36.25 cents per kilowatt/hour as of 2013.

  3. I am heartened that the average household in France uses twice the electricity as that in Germany.

    Vive la France! Vive la France! Vive la France!

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