Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Results Challenged by Recent
H. Douglas Lightfoot Paper
recent independent review, by H. Douglas Lightfoot, of a crucial
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Physical Science Basis
of Energy & Environment
December 15, 2010 -- H. Douglas Lightfoot's recent paper,
"Nomenclature, radiative forcing andtemperature
projections in IPCC Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis
inconsistencies and problems in the crucial IPCC AR4 report.
problems are identified:
atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration units have been confused.
Measurement units of “parts per million by volume”
(ppmv), meticulously specified by Charles Keeling for measurements of
carbon dioxideconcentration in the
atmosphere, were replaced by “parts per million” (ppm), a measurement
by weight withoutsufficient
notification. For carbon dioxide, 1 ppmv is equal to 1.52 ppm, a
at large,” explains
author H. Douglas Lightfoot, “andhas potential to
cause serious problems. One has only to remember the Gimli Glider, an
Air Canada flight,which ran out of fuel
in mid-air over confusion between gallons and litres, to recognize
potential hazards inconfusing units.”
the most frequently quoted estimate of the warming effect of carbon
dioxide appears to be overestimated
a large discrepancy in the warming
contribution of carbon dioxide between
pre-industrial times and the present era. Before 1750, carbon dioxide
was estimated to contributeapproximately 11% of
the warming effect, whereas between 1750 and 2005 the IPCC report
states the effect atclose to 100% of
suggests the large discrepancy in values is unsubstantiated, casting
doubt on the validity of the IPCCs reported
contribution of carbon dioxide to current global warming.
the paper explains that there is simply no evidence to support the
upper range of projected increases inatmospheric
temperature to 2100 of between 2.9 and 6.4C, stated in the AR4 report.
Using only informationpresented in the AR4
report, calculations show that required levels of atmospheric carbon
dioxide are two tofour times more than
is possible for the scenario estimates of world energy demand in the
that there are no
trustworthy temperature projections in AR4 for the
purpose of policymaking.
reasonable recommendation is that the IPCC issue a warning about the
problems in AR4,” Mr. Lightfoot explained, “followed
by a schedule for completing necessary corrections. This would minimize
damage to thecredibility of the
IPCC and that of its scientists, many of whom have done good work and
are not associatedwith the temperature
investigation into how these problems passed through unnoticed would be
a welcome further step,” Mr. Lightfoot explained.
“It is imperative that a body of engineers and scientists independent
of the IPCC verify theresults of the
re-assessment. I support the 2010 Interacademy Council review of the
IPCC’s procedures. Theirrecommendations are
an important step towards preventing the types of problems identified
in the IPCC’s AR4report.”
currently have a debate in the climate sciences,” Mr. Lightfoot
explained. “It is possible that several of the existing
inconsistencies identified in my recent paper are contributing to this
debate. It is my hope that theprocess for
correcting these problems can change the debate to a useful and
science journalists and editors:
detailed explanation of this paper’s findings is available by
contacting The Lightfoot Institute through their website: www.thelightfootinstitute.ca
Mechanical Engineer, H. Douglas Lightfoot graduated from the University
of British Columbia andlater received an MBA
from Concordia University. He spent eighteen years with Domtar Inc.,
working onresearch, engineering
and economic studies of alternate energies as well as a wide variety of
projects for thepulp and paper,
chemicals and construction materials businesses. He is an affiliated
member of the GlobalEnvironmental and
Climate Change Centre (GEC3), McGill University branch. He is also
co-founder of TheLightfoot Institute.
Lightfoot Institute is a Canadian non-profit research and education
organization, with charitable status, formed:
generate awareness of today’s global energy challenges and to advance a
workable and sustainable planthat would solve the
universally growing needs.”
Energy & Environment:
& Environment is an interdisciplinary journal aimed at natural
scientists, technologists and the international
direct and indirect
environmental impacts of energy acquisition,
transport, production and use.
the paper are available at the following website:
QC (PRWEB) September 29, 2010 -- The Lightfoot Institute is a newly
founded non-profit researchand education
generate awareness of today's global energy challenges and to advance a
workable and sustainable plan that would solve the
universally growing needs."
have little understanding of how much energy we use,” said co-founder
H. Douglas Lightfoot. “For instance, the United
States used more energy in 1850 than 60 per cent of the world’s
countries use today — andthat’s before Henry
Ford’s Model-T revolutionized transportation in the early part of the
must have adequate energy to adapt to climate change, whether or not
climate is warming or cooling, otherwise the
environment will be destroyed," he explained. "The trees we all enjoy
will be burned to heat people's houses."
income, we use energy in a discretionary manner,” explained co-founder
Brian G. Lightfoot. “Manufacturing
the energy of about two litres
of gasoline. Arbitrarily limiting our energy
use will have many negative and unforeseen consequences.”
Lightfoot Institute has recently received status as a Registered
Charity in Canada.
We can now
offer you a valuable opportunity to join us in promoting a reliable
energy supply, to keep the lights on, the machines
running and a sustainable future for us all.
Mechanical Engineer, H. Douglas Lightfoot graduated from the University
of British Columbia and later received an
MBA from Concordia University. He spent eighteen years with Domtar
Inc., working on research,
engineering and economic studies of alternate energies as well as a
wide variety of projects for the pulp and paper,
chemicals and construction materials businesses. He is a member of the
Global Environmentaland Climate Change
Centre (GEC3), McGill University branch.
Lightfoot, worked for many years as a senior technical writer in the
telecommunications industry. He has a bachelor's
degree in psychology from McGill University, a computer applications
programming certificate and is a graduate of
the Canadian Securities Course. He co-wrote and co-produced the widely
documentary film, Nobody's Fuel, and is currently adapting a textbook
on energy for lay audiences.
recommend the following article:
Technology as Magic
The Metropolitain, September 8th, 2010 By Steven
An Age of Pessimism
Robert Goddard was
a dreamer and inventor. Born in Massachusetts in
1882, he was a sickly child, and fell behind his fellow students. But
aninsatiable curiosity about the
physical world and was a voracious reader. He managed to become
of his high school class, stating in his address, "It has often proved true that
the dream of yesterday is the hope of
today, and the reality of tomorrow."
Robert Goddard had
dreams of practical
liquid fueled rocketry, and he was the pioneer in the field. In 1926 he
launched his first liquid- fueled rocket, and worked throughout the
develop his designs for higher altitude. His work was so successful
caught the attention of the Germans, who during the second world war,
their own V2 liquid fueled rocket, built around Goddard’s ideas, to
England. And he believed that liquid fueled rockets had the capability
taking man to the moon. Robert Goddard was a visionary and
achieved amazing things.
And yet he was
mercilessly ridiculed for his efforts and
belief that his liquid rocket technology would take man into space. In
New York Times editorial expressed
disbelief that Professor Goddard actually "does not know of the
of action to reaction, and the need to have something better than a
against which to react". Goddard, the Times declared, "only seems to
lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools”.
finally served many years after his death, when
the Times published a short item entitled “A Correction” on July
the day after
the launch of Apollo 11. Although a bit tongue-in-cheek, but no
doubt heartfelt, "A
its 1920 editorial mocking Goddard, and concluded, "Further
and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the
century and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function
vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error.”
(1824-1907) was a British engineer and physicist, who among other
was noted for his work on the transatlantic telegraph, the mariner’s
and on the laws of thermodynamics. He was knighted and elevated to the
Lords in London, earning the title
Lord Kelvin. He is
probably best known in scientific circles for developing the concept of
absolute zero temperature, and thus the temperature unit Kelvin is
named in his
honour. In his day Lord Kelvin was extremely successful, and very well
And he became
additionally well known
in the technical world for a prediction gone wrong. In a 1902 newspaper
interview, one year before the Wright brothers’ first flight, he
"no balloon and no aeroplane will ever be practically successful."
It seems there was
a time, early in the past century, when
prestigious newspapers and learned persons, not to mention the general
had little faith in the potential for advancement of technology.
How times have changed.
Advance of Technology
I bought a
run-of-the-mill new laptop computer last week. It
cost me eight hundred dollars, and it has 4 Gigabytes of random access
(RAM). In 1983, my parents bought our family an Apple II computer for
thousand dollars. It had 64K of RAM memory, which was already 4 times
the moon-landing Apollo 11 spacecraft on-board computer, developed by
years earlier. Thus from 1983 to today, a period of 27 years, a
personal computer has increased in at least one aspect of performance
factor of 63,000 and dropped in price by 75% (not even considering
I don’t really need to remind you that the computing power of the
computer has increased exponentially since it was first developed.
And it’s not just
computers. There isn’t a day that goes by
when some new advancement in technology isn’t announced in the media.
everywhere, and with the introduction of the
Internet, tool of communication and trading of information, the root of
technical innovation, the rate of advance only increases.
odds-defying advances are everywhere.
In medicine, it’s
new very serious diseases arriving on the
scene such as HIV/AIDS, and at least life-prolonging treatment
two decades of its arrival. It’s MRI development, giving accurate
diagnosis almost in real time. From unravelling the human genome, to
research and disease treatment, it does not stop.
developed space aircraft are on the verge of
taking paying passengers into space, and the international space
It seems there are
no limits to what technology can do. Even
aircraft that are powered by the sun are making the news.
Solar Aviation – the Sky’s the
The Solar Impulse
project is the brainchild of Bertrand
Piccard, a Swiss balloonist and adventurer. Piccard, in conjunction
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, is
developing two aircraft for what is planned to become the first attempt
circumnavigate the globe in a solar powered aircraft.
The first aircraft,
named HB-SIA, is a
prototype, being tested in 2010 and making big news doing so. The
aircraft, named HB-SIB, will be slightly larger and will have the
travel around the world in around 25 days.
The first Solar
Impulse aircraft is aone-seater. It
has a very large wingspan –63 meters, and
is 21 meters long. It has four 10-horsepower electric motors, driving
propellers, and has a maximum speed in flight of 70 kilometers per
hour. It is
made of lightweight materials such as carbon fibre.
Beyond the sheer
thrill of adventure, Piccard`s motives for
attempting such a groundbreaking technical feat are about showing how
and technology can be used for the development of renewable energy
He is quoted as
saying "We have to support the
environment without threatening the world economy and our mobility.
Impulse will show that a win-win situation is possible."
A Challenge to the Reader
I am now going
to pose a challenge to the reader. Would you follow me through a very
but meaningful, engineering calculation? There is a lesson to be
learned on the
completion of the calculation, and I think, if you have the patience to
you will profit from it. OK, here goes.
Asking myself the question “With all the
interest surrounding solar aviation, could solar power be used to power
typical modern passenger aircraft?”, I set out to find an answer. It is
surprisingly simple calculation, so please follow along, if you wish.
Using the concept
of conservation of energy (from the First
Law of Thermodynamics, but please, don’t let these fancy words
let us simply compare the maximum possible amount of solar power
the sun landing on the upper surface of the aircraft (that would
converted into forward propulsive power) compared to the actual power
during take-off. Let’s consider using a fairly big aircraft, say, the
737-900, for example. This is the latest version of the 737, the
transport workhorse of many airlines worldwide.
From the publicly
available specifications for the 737-900,
the total surface area of the aircraft when viewed from above is
290 square meters. Let’s assume it’s completely covered in solar
all of the sun’s power gets transferred into the propulsion system.
the power from the sun landing on the aircraft skin is approximately
kilowatt per square meter at sea-level (this is also called insolation,
is a typical value used at the equator, for a sunny day), the total
available to the aircraft is therefore 290 kilowatts (kW). For those
who prefer dealing in Imperial units, this equates to about 390
power typically available from a large automobile engine.
So, how much power
is required to get a 737-900 off the
ground and into the air, at high speed? From publicly available
the fuel consumption of the jet engine on the 737-900 (called the
under full power (take-off) conditions is approximately 0.91 kilograms
second. There are two engines on a 737, so the total fuel consumption
take-off is 1.82 kilograms per second. Knowing that the energy content
fuel (similar to kerosene) is about 43,000 kilojoules per kilogram,
the two gives 78,260 kilojoules per second (or kilowatts, as kilojoules
second are known).
So the maximum
possible power available from the sun is 290
kilowatts, and the fuel power required at take-off is 78,260 kilowatts
about 105,000 horsepower). This results in the conclusion that the
take-off power requirement is 270 times greater than the maximum power
available from the sun.
For readers with a
technical background, I will point out
that my calculations are highly simplistic, in that I have disregarded
solar cell efficiencies and jet engine efficiencies (converting fuel
into forward thrust). Given that solar cell efficiency and jet engine
efficiencies are both in the order of 30 to 40 percent, the overall
remains the same. So, in summary,
our very simple energy-balance engineering calculation shows the
of ever powering a large, high-speed passenger aircraft with solar
Predicting The Future Of Solar Aviation
So, now that we
have established that solar power is
insufficient to power a transport aircraft the size of a 737 (with its
and passenger carrying performance characteristics) by a factor of 270
let’s quickly estimate what the specifications of a solar powered
the wingspan similar to that of a 737 would look like.
Given that the
available solar power for the aircraft is in
the order of 290 kW (or 390 HP) and the electrical power available is a
less in practice, there would probably be one or several small electric
motor-driven propellers. The aircraft might have lightweight and dense
batteries for some power storage. The aircraft would have a large
solar power collection as well as high lift at low speed), but the body
be small and thin, and the whole structure would be lightweight, no
of carbon fibre and other composite materials. The aircraft would be
moving, and fragile, and possibly be able to carry one, or maybe
passengers, at the most.
Lo and behold,
that sounds a lot like a description of Solar
In other words,
Solar Impulse, for all the wonder that it
is, is about the best humanity is ever going to get out of a solar
Any notion that the sun will ever power a heavier-than-air
aircraft significantly larger or faster than Solar Impulse is simply
The power required from the sun is simply not available in sufficient
as we have shown.
Building Unrealistic Expectations
I think Bertrand
Piccard’s goals are noble, and Solar
Impulse is a great project. Both inspiring a new generation of aviation
adventure, and generating interest in sustainable development are good
aircraft no doubt have a practical future,
possibly being used as long-duration, high altitude communication
But solar power will never drive large, high-speed transport aircraft.
proven it together in this article, and should anyone propose to
we can advise against it with confidence.
I take issue with one of the outcomes of Solar Impulse. I
have heard a senior executive in civil transport aviation (someone
technical training), speak about research into solar aviation. He left
decided impression among the listeners that solar aviation for
traffic was not only possible, but also the inevitable future of
Piccard attempts to show that air mobility is
not threatened when supporting the environment by the use of solar
power, he is
entirely wrong. Affordable air travel for the general public is
threatened by the use of solar power for aircraft propulsive power.
When projects like
Solar Impulse are used, whether purposefully
or not, to further the public’s expectations that anything is literally
possible via technology, this is not only wrong, but also dangerous.
Technology As Magic
Unlike in the early part of the 20th century,
general public has come to have a very different view of technology and
I have heard it said by numerous economists that
climate change, and greenhouse gas emission reductions, economic
plans such as a carbon tax will spur technical innovation, with the
that there are no limits to technology. Tax it, and it will come! The
solution, that is.
This kind of thinking is somewhat naïve. No doubt
incentive schemes can have an effect, depending on the technology
My point in
performing the aircraft calculation above was to show that there are
technology based on, among other things, physical laws. Today we suffer
the opposite problem of the past, namely, the general public, not to
some economists, believe there are no limits. We have developed
expectations of what is possible.
Critical Thinking Required
some very difficult challenges going forward, especially with regards
reducing emissions of all kinds, and building a more sustainable energy
And while there are huge political elements to these challenges, there
I am personally
against any effort to make the challenges we
have look easy to solve, and the proposal of simplistic solutions to
integrated problems. When our citizens en masse start to expect
miracles from technology, and this gets translated into unrealistic
government bodies, we all lose. Investment money, a limited resource,
on projects that ultimately do not deliver concrete benefits to
time is wasted.
There is much
serious work to do to build a sustainable
future. We need to embrace our enthusiasm for technical solutions with
thinking so that the best, most realistic solutions are implemented.
We must not be
lulled into thinking there are easy solutions
to energy-related technical challenges, or sold exaggerated
is too much at stake to get it wrong.
Learning From Icarus
Icarus, of Greek
mythology fame, was the son of Daedalus.
Icarus and his father were imprisoned on the island of Crete by King
Minos. In an effort to escape, Daedalus fashioned two pairs of wings out of wax
and feathers for himself and his son.
his new wings, and the possibility of
flight, Icarus flew too close to the sun, beyond the capabilities of
His wax wings melted and he plunged to his death in theIcarianSea, which today bears his name.
We can learn from
Icarus. All the technology around us is
astounding. As I have described, as a society, we have gone from
underestimating the possibility of technological advance, to now
there are no limits. We are told time and again that all of the huge
facing our world, be it climate change, peak oil, and future energy
all solvable with existing and future technology that will inevitably
But there are
limits, and the laws of physics apply today
just as they always have. We need to balance our enthusiasm for
the critical thinking required to properly evaluate which future
make sense and which don’t. We have the power to do this.
Let’s not allow
our belief in the future of technology to
cause us to fly too close to the sun, wasting precious time and
ill-thought out ideas.
author: Steven D. Lightfoot
is a Mechanical Engineer who trained at McGill University. He has
worked for 20 years in the aerospace and power generation industries,
and is currently employed in the consulting engineering industry in
- - -
They got the
The Metropolitain, January 7th, 2010
The level of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the real and
perceived issues of "climate change" related to CoP 15 in Copenhagen is
enormous, but it need not be. . .
Author of Nobody's Fuel wins CNS/CNA Education and
(PRWEB) June 2, 2008
H. Douglas Lightfoot, of Nobodysfuel.com, has won the Education and
Communication Award for 2008, a joint award from the Canadian Nuclear
Society/Société Nucléaire Canadienne (CNS) and the
Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA).
"We are very pleased with the positive response our message continues
to receive," said H. Douglas Lightfoot. "The DVD of Nobody's Fuel was
prepared to communicate to the public the Nobody's Fuel Energy Supply
Plan. It is a workable plan to lift poor nations out of poverty,
maintain the well-being of everyone on Earth, adapt to climate change,
and protect the environment. It leaves no one behind."
"We must have adequate energy to adapt to climate change, whether or
not climate is warming or cooling, otherwise the environment will be
destroyed," Lightfoot explained. "The trees we all enjoy will be burned
to heat people's houses."
The awards ceremony will take place at the evening banquet on Tuesday
June 3rd during the Canadian Nuclear Society's 29th Annual Conference,
June 1st to 4th at the Marriott Hotel in Toronto, Ontario.
About Nobody's Fuel:
Nobody's Fuel was produced to make people aware of impending energy
challenges ahead, and to promote a workable plan to provide the energy
the world needs, while ameliorating the carbon emission problem.
DVD title: H. Douglas Lightfoot's Nobody's Fuel -- energy supply is
more important than climate change.
About the Canadian Nuclear Society/Société
Nucléaire Canadienne, Inc.:
The Canadian Nuclear Society (CNS) was established in 1979 as "the
technical society of the Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA)".
The CNS is dedicated to the exchange of information in the field of
applied nuclear science and technology. This encompasses all aspects of
nuclear energy, uranium, fission and other nuclear technologies such as
occupational and environmental protection, medical diagnosis and
treatment, the use of radioisotopes, and food preservation.
For more information, see: www.cns-snc.ca.
# # #
BY MARC LALONDE
Baie d’Urfé resident Doug Lightfoot’s got an inconvenient truth
for you: it’s an overdependence on fossil fuels that’s going to sap the
planet’s finite resources before climate change can really even take
Lightfoot, a retired mechanical engineer and a member of McGill
University’s Global Environmental and Climate Change Centre, has
produced and is actively promoting a DVD production called Nobody’s
Fuel, which details his hypothesis that the world’s current reliance on
finite fossil fuels will lead us all into ruin.
“I’ve been studying this for a long time — since the 1970s, actually,”
said Lightfoot, who has published multiple research papers detailing
the consumption and depletion of the world’s natural fuel resources.
“The reason the United States is so rich is because it has been burning
more energy than anyone else.”
For instance, Lightfoot reports the United States used more energy in
1850 than 60 per cent of the world’s countries use today — and that’s
before Henry Ford’s Model-T revolutionized transportation in the early
part of the 20th century.
The solution, he contends, is nuclear energy that is gleaned from
uranium in fast-breeding reactors — nuclear fission energy.
“There has been enough uranium mined already to power the
world for another 150 to 200 years,” he said. “Using fast-breeder
reactors, we could have enough energy to last for tens of thousands of
years,” he said, adding that one kilogram of uranium holds more energy
than 2.3 million litres of gasoline.”
Now, he’s taking Nobody’s Fuel on the road. Lightfoot, who has produced
a two-hour DVD detailing his ideas - available on his website,
nobodysfuel.com - will speak at the Senneville Curling Club.
The presentation, which includes a viewing of the DVD, is slated for
Sunday at the Senneville Curling Club.
The nuclear-fission idea, Lightfoot says, is not out of the financial
“It’s not untenable from an economic standpoint, and even if the price
of uranium goes up, it’s still within reason,” he said.
The big obstacle is getting scientists and engineers together to help
the engineers put the scientists’ ideas into practice, he said.
“We have to bring the two fields together to make things work past a
theoretical standpoint,” Lightfoot said.