Sunday, February 27, 2011

Local DC area inventor and activist predicts grim future on climate change; why not go for home self-sufficiency?

The Washington Post Outlook section has a long piece by climate change activist and inventor Mike Tidewell, from Takoma Park, MD, near Washington DC.  He talks about two colossal thunderstorms last summer (which did much more damage in Maryland than northern VA) and the endless procession of “wet snow blizzards” (e.g. “upper level lows”) and winter wind storms as low pressure systems over land are stronger than they used to be because of a warmer planet.

An earlier article has a curious title, “To save the planet, stop going green”. But the new article is “A climate-change activist prepares for the worst”, link here.

Tidwell has little confidence in the small, incremental changes (CFL’s) that are being touted. He is concerned about the moralistic kind of social unrest that can result, and says that politicians aren’t getting right, but insurance companies are surely starting to notice.

I personally think that homes ought to be retrofitted with solar panels as much as possible, with the ability to store electricity for outages rather than use fossil fuel generators. A typical generator system installed by your power company in a private home is around $4000 or so.  Why not work smart and build more local storage of wind and sun energy in every home, use Bloomberg boxes, and reduce even the dependence on transmission lines, and therefore the disruptions of outages.  That sounds like a better investment of resources that cutting down trees and moving lines underground. 
Pictures: Last Friday's windstorm comes in was skies clear. Very low pressure nearby generated winds in Arlington up to 66 mph; usually these winds only happen on ridge tops or over water. The mountain ranges to the west (about 50 miles) probably make weather less severe, but they can cause storms when SE winds can't cross them and pool warm moist air to collide with approaching cold fronts and low pressure to the north. Storms in the Frederick MD area are probably more severe because the Harper's Ferry gap nearby. Storms in southern MD on either side of the Chesapeake Bay are usually more severe.  

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