Author Archives: mogens

Conduct with the enemy

John S.D. Eisenhower, son of the general, recounts the moment of Germany’s total surrender in his book, “The Bitter Woods: The Battle of the Bulge“:

General Eisenhower was sitting in his office awaiting the outcome of the surrender negotiations. Past the desk of his secretary and into the office came the Nazis, erect and cold. Eisenhower stood up. Rigid, and fixing a cold eye on his enemies, he demanded, “Do you understand all the provisions of the document you have just signed?”


“You will, officially and personally, be held responsible if the terms of this surrender are violated, including its provision for German commanders to appear in Berlin at the moment set by the Russian High Command, to accomplish formal surrender to that government. That is all.”

The Nazis saluted and left, and Eisenhower relaxed. A few minutes later he sent a message to the Combined Chiefs of Staff: “The mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7th, 1945.”

Ukraine War & Climate Change

At first glance it may seem that the War in Ukraine is unrelated to Climate Change. I am not so sure. In fact, I would submit that we cannot begin to address CC without Russia’s defeat.

Prior to Feb-2022, Russia was in the top fossil producing league. When Putin, at his annual public forum, was asked what Russia had done to reduce its CC impact. Here is what he said. How can we make progress with a 900 pound russian bear breathing down our necks?

Russia has been knocked down from the top fossil league, but unless its Ukraine venture ends in utter failure, it will quickly regain that status and earth will lose out to the predatory russian bear.

Every gun that is made

”Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children . . . This is not a way of life at all in any sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” Eisenhover – 1953

Hurricane Dorian and Bahamas

The category-5 Hurricane Dorian just left the Bahamas devastated with 1000’s of homes in ruins and the airport runway under water. My heart goes out to the folks in distress, and so does my check to the Red Cross. At the same time I hope they realize the pattern of things to come. Do not rebuild. It’s time to pack up and get out! The same goes for other folks living near coastlines in flood zones. What are you waiting for? GET OUT NOW!

Dear Congresswoman Eshoo

Dear Congresswoman Eshoo,

Having read your Mountain View town hall summary, it came as a surprise to me that Climate Change was not discussed, and I decided to attend your Redwood City TH meeting. Again I was most disappointed by the absence of CC. Regrettably, I was not given an opportunity to speak.

I will not waste much time about the urgency of this matter other than to say that the outlook to recover from CC is most distressing.

CC is by no means a new concept. It was well understood at the international level through the 1990 IPCC report. Yet, we have decided to ignore the issue. As a generation, we have utterly failed to take action. Even when we had a presidential candidate like Hillary Clinton who suggested that we can address the issue by installing millions of solar panels, I  cringe. She failed to understand the issue. In fact, it was not until I recently heard the new EU president, Ursula von der Leyen, speak in Brussels, that I finally heard a top politician that ranked and addressed the issue as it should – the number one priority issue!

You may feel at loss as to how to address the topic. That is understandable. But it simply cannot be swept under the rug for another day. It must be brought out at every opportunity, and people must be reminded.

Yours sincerely, Mogens Lauritzen, 1725 Pilgrim Ave, Mountain View

Did you know?
1) There are strong links between the Syrian civil war and their prior failed crops which uprooted the farming population.
2) The dry belt in Central America have been experiencing severe drought which is forcing people into already congested cities, and ultimately up to our border?
3) Yes, sea level rise can be predicted, and one can estimate the economic impact. But we fail to understand the tremendous migration problems that will occur. Do we stop caravans of people from Phoenix, or Las Vegas because we too don’t have spare water? Not to mention the ever international migration and refugee severity.
4) Installing a few more solar panels will not solve our problem. Our entire energy infrastructure must be changed.
5) Our current lifestyle is squanderous, and not sustainable. Weekly cross country commuting included!
6) The recent Nobel prize winners in economics advocated a 100% refundable CO2 fee as the best way to address CC.

Happy New Year 2019

Among the otherwise uncertain global events, I would like to share with you an unnoticed milestone. A bit over 40 years ago, the Voyager-1 space probe was launched. I vaguely remember the event while attending Gymnasium/High School. It was a one in 150-year event, as it used a special planetary line-up to accelerate beyond the reach of our solar system. Incredibly, Voyager is still transmitting data. How about a 40-year old car, still cruising along without maintenance? Unless we develop a new and outrageous space probe, Voyager-1 will remain mankind’s farthest reach into space – forever! Imagine, for a moment, yourself sitting on the probe and looking toward our sun. Occasionally, you can spot Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Earth, Venus, and Mercury, while you are cruising at 17km/sec (10mi/sec) away from the sun. We may choose to ignore Climate Change, abruptly terminate life with nuclear war, jump out from a Trump Tower – or who knows what? Regardless, Voyager will continue to sail away, and perhaps someday meet an alien civilization that is compassionate, thoughtful, caring and foresightful.

Happy New Year 2019 – Mogens Lauritzen

Just because we can?

Does “just because we can” imply that we should? Take a look at this? This is a pile of bison skulls. All gathered from carcasses brought down by holiday bison hunters, facilitated by the new railroad lines post US civil war. Yes, the bison was hunted to extinction, and the Indians brought to starvation.

One can draw many parallels. How about a kid in a candy store with a $100 bill? Buying a tin of (near extinct) Romanov caviar? A weekend trip to New York? What is outrageous and what is reasonable. Obviously, for the outrageous folks, nothing is outrageous. It is their right. Or, is it? Take a look at what President Carter had to say about this years ago:

Happy New Year 2018

The Paris accord sought to limit the long term temperature increase to well below 2C, and to strive for 1.5C. With this goal in mind, a worldwide carbon budget was created.

First, let’s talk 2C temperature rise. Why do we focus on limiting the increase to 2C? Because, beyond that the impact will be devastating. An increase of just 1.5C will be catastrophic for all low-lying living areas, such as most Pacific islanders, and that goal was included specifically for them.

On days like today (January-2018) it may feel nicer. 2C is just an average, but it doesn’t explain what we can expect from weather. It could be much higher temperatures at the poles; for instance, at current projections, we’ll in the next 10-30 years have triggered the massive Greenland ice melt which will happen throughout the next centuries. That alone is about 7m of sea level rise. This will happen! The key question to ask from this is; what will the many impacts be for us? Actually – we all know. But we either feel helpless, of choose to ignore it.

In 1990 the first IPCC report was written. Since then our emissions have continued to grow by 60%. Last year, 2017, we were up 2% over 2016. The US for instance has done very little to concertedly reduce emissions. The switch to natural gas over coal for preferred electricity generation has been fueled by economics.

We have completely and totally failed for 28 years! We continue to waste our carbon budget. And no – we cannot blame it on world population, because 10% of us account for 50% of CO2 emissions, and I’ll leave it to you to figure out where the 10% live! As an adult voting generation, we are guilty of passing a tremendous heap of garbage on to our children.

The goal set by California, which is to reduce emissions by 80% (8% p.a.) by 2050 is not sufficient, and the plan is fraught with potential problems. Like many governmental plans, it includes a large (questionable) biomass related component. Without going into details, our Governor recently directed agencies to review this subject in light of the recent fires. One likely outcome is that the state must be more aggressive with reductions through other means.

In order to stay within the 2C Paris accord, we must reduce worldwide emissions by >10% p.a. Additionally, there’s an equity component for which we need to budget extra. But let’s face it, even 10% is going to be incredibly hard, and I suggest we try to do better, but at minimum stay with that. So for 2018; we need to be at 90% from last year. For 2019 we save another 10%, and so on. The key is to aggressively reduce emissions immediately, because by delaying we make it we just make it much harder. Oh, and the Pacific islanders and company? Well, I fail to see any option other than to migrate away from rising waters, and for us to start making room for displaced people!

Cheers & a very Happy New Year to you all – Mogens

Solar Powered Boats

Some years ago, while visiting Clearlake in California and watching various crafts cruising the waters, I wondered if solar power could propel a boat. Back-of-the-envelope-calculations indicated it could. Since then the earth has been circumnavigated by solar power – both in flight and by sea. Recently I had the opportunity to return to Clearlake and had access to an old 14 ft Capri sailboat. Using two left over 170W solar panels from a prior project, an off-the-shelf charge controller, Costco RV battery, and 55 lbs trolling motor, I decided to go for a simple proof-of-concept project. Here’s a clip from this last weekend;


There are too many ideas for improvements from this weekend, and I’m sure as we’ll look back at this as old-stuff in ten years, just as we now view an early model Ford. Sailing in a Sunboat is a lot of fun. No exhaust fumes, no noise, and no worries about paying for gas. Just pure silence. Did somebody say silence is golden? This has got to be it!

Cheers – Mogens