A thread devoted to global warming

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Wallingford
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A thread devoted to global warming

Post by Wallingford » Sun Feb 04, 2007 4:44 pm

It's a subject Bush & his speechwriters never addressed 2 weeks back. It's one that no one on this board's been interested (unwittingly, I'm sure) in discussing.

Those who scorn those of us who're concerned, seem merely to liken us to the stereotyped cliche cartoon hippie character carrying around the sign. And I suppose the damage is already, irreparably, done. Still, I'm worried. Are YOU?
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

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Post by jbuck919 » Sun Feb 04, 2007 4:59 pm

As a matter of fact, it's come up a number of times and has already been a bit politicized here. My own tendency (in one of my rare agreements with Corlyss) has been to listen to science that does not get funded for having the "correct" opinion, but it is not becoming any easier to decide what is right in terms of either science (to the extent it is available to the educated but not specialized citizenry) or policy. So I'm not going to jump in with both feet here, but I do think it's a good idea for a thread.

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Wallingford
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Post by Wallingford » Sun Feb 04, 2007 5:02 pm

Right--I didn't mean to imply no one's EVER talked about it here; I just haven't seen it discussed since the speech.
If I could tell my mom and dad
That the things we never had
Never mattered we were always ok
Getting ready for Christmas day
--Paul Simon

Agnes Selby
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Warming

Post by Agnes Selby » Sun Feb 04, 2007 5:04 pm

Yes, I am worried. We have not had significant rain in Australia
and most of NSW is parched dry.

However, how does one get the message across to China and India?
These are the two major pollutants at present. Their growing economies
will not support any decisions made against global warming.

In Sydney we already have water restrictions and more is to come.
Desalination is opposed to by many people who do not want to see desalination plants in their backyards. We are surrounded by water
but will have not a drop to drink. The economists warn us about the collapse of industries, unemployment and ensuing poverty. And there is only lip service paid to the Kyoto Protocol by the nations who signed it.

Regards,
Agnes.
--------------------

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Post by Gary » Sun Feb 04, 2007 6:26 pm

I’m not sure that this is necessarily a bad thing. The last time the globe was "appreciably" warmer giant lizards trod the earth; there was vegetation aplenty and some plants were taller than the giant lizards, even. One could argue that we're only now coming to the end of the last Ice Age. Then good riddance!

Now coming back to my senses...yes, I too am worried. :)
Last edited by Gary on Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

piston
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Re: Warming

Post by piston » Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:29 pm

Agnes Selby wrote:Yes, I am worried. We have not had significant rain in Australia
and most of NSW is parched dry.

However, how does one get the message across to China and India?
These are the two major pollutants at present. Their growing economies
will not support any decisions made against global warming.

In Sydney we already have water restrictions and more is to come.
Desalination is opposed to by many people who do not want to see desalination plants in their backyards. We are surrounded by water
but will have not a drop to drink. The economists warn us about the collapse of industries, unemployment and ensuing poverty. And there is only lip service paid to the Kyoto Protocol by the nations who signed it.

Regards,
Agnes.
--------------------
Regards to you as well, Agnes. The issue is politicized here because of Gore's initiative (his movie) and the fact that he gives his allegiance to the Democratic party. People elsewhere have been expressing much concern in a variety of creative ways, including photographs of most unusual occurrences around the globe. Australia, I read, is considered particularly vulnerable to climatic change, even if it only amounts to a few more degrees per year, because of its susceptibility to drought and, something I have yet to grasp, the future of the great reef.

The subtle realities of climatic change were driven home most eloquently, some three or four years ago, by two indigenous women from the Yukon territory in Canada, who flew down to San Francisco, at a Canada-US conference, merely to explain what a few degrees of global warming did to the caribou herds, the source of their nation's traditional mode of subsistence. They explained that crystalizing snow, when it occurred to soon in late winter, seriously hampered the progress of young caribou calves to such an extent that they could not follow the herd in its seasonal migration. As a result, the calves became exposed to predators and the herd's population could not replenish itself. In fact, their tribal members were increasingly compelled to haul the lagging calves back to the herd -- a most curious human intervention in the circle of life, if you ask me. Little things, not some cataclysmic declension theory, is what global warming is all about.
yours.
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Post by BWV 1080 » Mon Feb 05, 2007 1:08 am

An excellent review by Kerry Emanuel, professor of meteorology at MIT, can be found here: http://bostonreview.net/BR32.1/emanuel.html

Climate modeling is a highly complex, uncertain endeavor and deserve no more respect than a weather forecast. However, as the article points out:
The IPCC reports are fairly candid about what we collectively know and where the uncertainties probably lie. In the first category are findings that are not in dispute, not even by les refusards:

• Concentrations of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, and nitrous oxide are increasing owing to fossil-fuel consumption and biomass burning. Carbon dioxide has increased from its pre-industrial level of about 280 parts per million (ppmv) to about 380 ppmv today, an increase of about 35 percent. From ice-core records, it is evident that present levels of CO2 exceed those experienced by the planet at any time over at least the past 650,000 years.

• Concentrations of certain anthropogenic aerosols have also increased owing to industrial activity.

• The earth’s average surface temperature has increased by about 1.2°F in the past century, with most of the increase occurring from about 1920 to 1950, and again beginning around 1975. The year 2005 was the warmest in the instrumental record.

• Sea level has risen by about 2.7 inches over the past 40 years; of this, a little over an inch occurred during the past decade.

• The annual mean geographical extent of arctic sea ice has decreased by 15 to 20 percent since satellite measurements of this began in 1978.

In the second category are findings that most climate scientists agree with but are disputed by some:

• The global mean temperature is now greater than at any time in at least the past 500 to 1,000 years.

• Most of the global mean temperature variability is caused by four factors: variability of solar output, major volcanic eruptions, and anthropogenic sulfate aerosols and greenhouse gases.

• The dramatic rise in global mean temperature in the past 30 years is owing primarily to increasing greenhouse-gas concentrations and a leveling off or slight decline in sulfate aerosols.

• Unless measures are taken to reduce greenhouse-gas production, global mean temperature will continue to increase, about 2.5 to 9°F over the next century, depending on uncertainties and how much greenhouse gas is produced.

• As a result of the thermal expansion of sea water and the melting of polar ice caps, sea level will increase six to 16 inches over the next century, though the increase could be larger if large continental ice sheets become unstable.

• Rainfall will continue to become concentrated in increasingly heavy but less frequent events.

• The incidence, intensity, and duration of both floods and drought will increase.

• The intensity of hurricanes will continue to increase, though their frequency may dwindle.
He goes on to give both the left and the right in the US a well-deserved lambasting:

Especially in the United States, the political debate about global climate change became polarized along the conservative–liberal axis some decades ago. Although we take this for granted now, it is not entirely obvious why the chips fell the way they did. One can easily imagine conservatives embracing the notion of climate change in support of actions they might like to see anyway. Conservatives have usually been strong supporters of nuclear power, and few can be happy about our current dependence on foreign oil. The United States is renowned for its technological innovation and should be at an advantage in making money from any global sea change in energy-producing technology: consider the prospect of selling new means of powering vehicles and electrical generation to China’s rapidly expanding economy. But none of this has happened.

Paradoxes abound on the political left as well. A meaningful reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions will require a shift in the means of producing energy, as well as conservation measures. But such alternatives as nuclear and wind power are viewed with deep ambivalence by the left. Senator Kennedy, by most measures our most liberal senator, is strongly opposed to a project to develop wind energy near his home in Hyannis, and environmentalists have only just begun to rethink their visceral opposition to nuclear power. Had it not been for green opposition, the United States today might derive most of its electricity from nuclear power, as does France; thus the environmentalists must accept a large measure of responsibility for today’s most critical environmental problem.

There are other obstacles to taking a sensible approach to the climate problem. We have preciously few representatives in Congress with a background or interest in science, and some of them display an active contempt for the subject. As long as we continue to elect scientific illiterates like James Inhofe, who believes global warming to be a hoax, we will lack the ability to engage in intelligent debate. Scientists are most effective when they provide sound, impartial advice, but their reputation for impartiality is severely compromised by the shocking lack of political diversity among American academics, who suffer from the kind of group-think that develops in cloistered cultures. Until this profound and well documented intellectual homogeneity changes, scientists will be suspected of constituting a leftist think tank.

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Re: A thread devoted to global warming

Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:19 am

Wallingford wrote: Still, I'm worried. Are YOU?
Hell, no! Global warming has been going and coming for hundreds of millions of years. Only the narcissistic Boomers with their endless self-absorbtion could possibly think humans were the cause of global warming. Only the old line left could possibly turn it into a cudgel to beat their traditional enemy, captialism, into submission. It's one of only a handful of subjects completely infested with the PC virus such that opposition to the human origin thesis will discredit scientists not on the basis of research but on the basis of left-wing group think. It's revolting to watch. Fortunately, so far it's been all noise, with few nations that matter falling for the lame "science."
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Re: A thread devoted to global warming

Post by jbuck919 » Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:55 am

Corlyss_D wrote:Hell, no! Global warming has been going and coming for hundreds of millions of years.
I saw a special a few weeks ago on, I think, the Discover Channel about the Little Ice Age, which wasn't so little in human terms (it lasted something like four centuries, ending only in the nineteenth) and in spots at least looked an awful lot like we were entering the next ice age. In fact, if we were in the middle of it now, that's exactly what scientists might be saying and again, they'd be looking for human activity (or maybe in that case lack thereof) as part of the explanation.

It is "tipping point" scenarios that are most disturbing. As ice melts, the Earth's albedo decreases which accelerates the warming. As the rain forests are further disturbed, the point may come where they no longer produce their own rainfall in sufficient quantities to prevent the eventual destruction of the whole thing by fires. It seems natural to look for ways humans are accelerating the process and see if it makes sense to expend the effort and money to bring them under control, but I still know of no reliable figure that everybody can agree on as to whether greenhouse gases are one percent of the problem and natural cycles 99 percent, the other way around, or whatever in between.

Of course, we could all just start making plans to move to Canada or Siberia. :)

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Re: A thread devoted to global warming

Post by Teresa B » Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:26 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
Wallingford wrote: Still, I'm worried. Are YOU?
Hell, no! Global warming has been going and coming for hundreds of millions of years. Only the narcissistic Boomers with their endless self-absorbtion could possibly think humans were the cause of global warming. Only the old line left could possibly turn it into a cudgel to beat their traditional enemy, captialism, into submission. It's one of only a handful of subjects completely infested with the PC virus such that opposition to the human origin thesis will discredit scientists not on the basis of research but on the basis of left-wing group think. It's revolting to watch. Fortunately, so far it's been all noise, with few nations that matter falling for the lame "science."
Corlyss, it isn't just narcissistic boomers, but scientists (who as far as I know are not "lame") have agreed. Just because it seems "PC" to decry global warming as related to human activities doesn't mean it is not true. And whether it is human-caused or not, it has bad consequences.

Really, not everything is left-or-right-wing, and if we really want to make progress we need to think about what is good for everyone on the planet and quit with the false dichotomizing of all our problems into conservative-liberal.

My old friend Stephen Jay Gould (yes, he was a liberal, but forget that for a minute) stated it well, as he did many things. I am paraphrasing, but his comments was that it's not necessarily a good idea to blow off something like global warming by saying Hey, the earth has had climate change since its inception, etc. Yes, the earth will recover eventually--but it could be most unpleasant for those who suffer extinction from the short-term effects during the change.

Teresa
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Post by Haydnseek » Mon Feb 05, 2007 2:32 pm

I’m not very worried about it yet. Climate change is normal and continuous and has been occurring since long before mankind existed, not to mention industrialized. The questions are, are we really affecting the climate in a serious way that could make our lives more difficult or dangerous, and could we do anything about it, whether we are a cause or not?

As for the science on this issue, in the short term, scientific studies should be met with a healthy degree of skepticism but, in the long run, one can have confidence that the scientific process will arrive at an understanding we can trust. I doubt enough work has been done to draw definite conclusions about climate change. If scientists have been having difficulty determining whether coffee is good or bad for us, they are likely to encounter difficulties establishing a clear picture of the entire planet’s climate with all of its billions of variables.

I think we should remember that scientists are not immune from the influences of political ideology and social pressure. And some of the people described as scientists are hardly such. “Environmental Science” is more like political advocacy than real science: I have the impression that some, or even most of them, begin with the conclusions and then look for data to support them.

Another point: Global Warming has the odor of religious dogma. It is an apocalyptic vision for secular people – “The End is Near! We have sinned and we will be destroyed unless we are penitent and practice self-mortification.” It’s just a weird trait in human nature that has to express itself somehow in each generation in one form or another.

Lastly, people who are worried about Global Warming don’t seem very serious about it ultimately. If they were serious, they would advocate the building of nuclear power plants instead of opposing them since nuclear doesn’t emit greenhouse gases. They might support heavy taxation of gasoline to reduce consumption. How many of these worriers would be willing to pay $8, or $10 per gallon to save humanity? Would they support requiring cars to be much smaller and lighter with weaker engines? Accelerating very slowly to get up to speed would reduce fuel consumption dramatically. How about 0 to 60 in five minutes?
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Re: A thread devoted to global warming

Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:30 pm

Teresa B wrote:Corlyss, it isn't just narcissistic boomers, but scientists (who as far as I know are not "lame") have agreed.
They are predominantly Boomer scientists with Boomer political sensibilities, Teresa. Their science is based on flawed models designed to produce the results they believe is "good for everyone." It's a politically driven conclusion, not a scientific one. Just because conservatives dismiss the "science" doesn't mean that the science is good or that conservatives are wrong. There's more than enough scientific evidence to render the alleged human causes of gobal warming highly suspect. I don't dispute that global warming is happening. However, it's merely a speed bump on the road to a new ice age. This has been amply illustrated by the temperature charts over the last thousands of years since the last ice age. Studies some ten years ago demonstrated that human causes of carbon dioxide accounted for less than 1% of the carbon dioxide generated by tectonic plate activity, but that result didn't conform to the general and specific hysteria the media love to foster, so it didn't get reported widely.
Just because it seems "PC" to decry global warming as related to human activities doesn't mean it is not true. And whether it is human-caused or not, it has bad consequences.
I buy it for microclimates and even perhaps regional climates, but not for global climate. People forget that the earth is 70% ocean and it ain't the atmosphere that heats the water; it's the water that heats the atmosphere.
Really, not everything is left-or-right-wing, and if we really want to make progress we need to think about what is good for everyone on the planet and quit with the false dichotomizing of all our problems into conservative-liberal.


I'm sorry to disillusion you, Teresa, but where money and public policy intersect, you better believe that there will be little consensus on "what is good for everyone." First, do no harm. I don't want my country to fall for the baloney produced when a group of nations sits down and decides, by democratic vote, naturally, that the US is the one that has to sacrifice economic growth and prosperity for some rooster-and-bull notion which just coincidently happens to fit with their ambitions to compete with us economically. Why? Because in the US international treaties are enforceable at law, and we generally do a much better job of it than any other nation on the planet. That's just one reason why NGOs try so hard to entangle us in international agreements. Other countries can blow hot on any issue in a conference, then simply ignore the agreements, as they have on Kyoto, among many. You may have missed the reports that no nation will meet the Kyoto goals they signed up for, with or without the US. And that doesn't even begin to deal with India and China which were exempted from Kyoto. Why are you so eager for the US to fall on its sword over something no one else will honor?
Yes, the earth will recover eventually--but it could be most unpleasant for those who suffer extinction from the short-term effects during the change.


I have to confess I simply don't understand the romantic devotion to DNA that can't survive without the interference of humans. Species appear and disappear in the insect kingdom and the plant kingdom routinely as they have for 2 billion years. Suddenly come the Boomers, and every living thing has to be frozen as is circa 1970 because it was there when Boomers discovered ecology, and by God, Boomers will preserve it for time and all eternity. Anal, IMO. Evolution is fine as a mechanism, and especially as a stick to bludgeon school districts, but we have to stop its actual operation?
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:40 pm

Haydnseek wrote:in the long run, one can have confidence that the scientific process will arrive at an understanding we can trust.
Not if the politicians/governments get there first. They can turn anything into an article of faith, and then there's simply no rational dealing with the thesis or the consequences. Remember the hokum that passed for agricultural science in the Soviet Union and Communist China. That is the thing that is so troubling about this rush to judgment about the human causes of global warming: the hokum is about to carry the day in terms of science public policies, tax policies, and distribution of federal funds.
“Environmental Science” is more like political advocacy than real science: I have the impression that some, or even most of them, begin with the conclusions and then look for data to support them.
Amen to that! Very few of them go into that field without having as their ambition to influence public policy vis-a-vis the excesses of capitalism. That is essentially politics.
Another point: Global Warming has the odor of religious dogma. It is an apocalyptic vision for secular people – “The End is Near! We have sinned and we will be destroyed unless we are penitent and practice self-mortification.” It’s just a weird trait in human nature that has to express itself somehow in each generation in one form or another.
The article of faith thing! Amen to that too. You put it so much better than I did.
Lastly, people who are worried about Global Warming don’t seem very serious about it ultimately. If they were serious, they would advocate the building of nuclear power plants instead of opposing them since nuclear doesn’t emit greenhouse gases. They might support heavy taxation of gasoline to reduce consumption. How many of these worriers would be willing to pay $8, or $10 per gallon to save humanity? Would they support requiring cars to be much smaller and lighter with weaker engines? Accelerating very slowly to get up to speed would reduce fuel consumption dramatically. How about 0 to 60 in five minutes?
Well, hell! Amen to that too.
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Ted

Post by Ted » Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:52 pm

That the earth has always had and endured climatic trauma cannot be denied. The writers of the Old Testament had no way of knowing that a few thousand years prior a large portion of the globe was ensconced in ice. In fact ice has incessantly plagued the earth yet we who live in the last second of the last minute of the planet’s life-cycle delude ourselves into thinking that the globe is nothing more than a soapbox for Homo sapiens to spout our presumptions of gloom and doom at our own hands.
The earth may be warming now as it has in the past—but don’t throw out your mittens just yet

Having said that, we have managed to pollute our rivers, fished out large portions of the Atlantic and Pacific and in effect have erected a smokestack in the middle of the planet that constantly spews carbon dioxide and other noxious gases into the atmosphere.
Is that causing the ice shelves to melt?
Will the additional fresh water and decrease in salinity seriously effect the “Pump that governs the Gulf Stream and other oceanic currents?
Will Chinese drivers end up being the nail in the Co2 coffin?
Well?

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Post by Haydnseek » Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:07 pm

Climate of Opinion

The latest U.N. report shows the "warming" debate is far from settled.

Monday, February 5, 2007 12:01 a.m.

Last week's headlines about the United Nations' latest report on global warming were typically breathless, predicting doom and human damnation like the most fervent religious evangelical. Yet the real news in the fourth assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) may be how far it is backpedaling on some key issues. Beware claims that the science of global warming is settled.

The document that caused such a stir was only a short policy report, a summary of the full scientific report due in May. Written mainly by policymakers (not scientists) who have a stake in the issue, the summary was long on dire predictions. The press reported the bullet points, noting that this latest summary pronounced with more than "90% confidence" that humans have been the main drivers of warming since the 1950s, and that higher temperatures and rising sea levels would result.

More pertinent is the underlying scientific report. And according to people who have seen that draft, it contains startling revisions of previous U.N. predictions. For example, the Center for Science and Public Policy has just released an illuminating analysis written by Lord Christopher Monckton, a one-time adviser to Margaret Thatcher who has become a voice of sanity on global warming.

Take rising sea levels. In its 2001 report, the U.N.'s best high-end estimate of the rise in sea levels by 2100 was three feet. Lord Monckton notes that the upcoming report's high-end best estimate is 17 inches, or half the previous prediction. Similarly, the new report shows that the 2001 assessment had overestimated the human influence on climate change since the Industrial Revolution by at least one-third.

Such reversals (and there are more) are remarkable, given that the IPCC's previous reports, in 1990, 1995 and 2001, have been steadily more urgent in their scientific claims and political tone. It's worth noting that many of the policymakers who tinker with the IPCC reports work for governments that have promoted climate fears as a way of justifying carbon-restriction policies. More skeptical scientists are routinely vetoed from contributing to the panel's work. The Pasteur Institute's Paul Reiter, a malaria expert who thinks global warming would have little impact on the spread of that disease, is one example.

U.N. scientists have relied heavily on computer models to predict future climate change, and these crystal balls are notoriously inaccurate. According to the models, for instance, global temperatures were supposed to have risen in recent years. Yet according to the U.S. National Climate Data Center, the world in 2006 was only 0.03 degrees Celsius warmer than it was in 2001--in the range of measurement error and thus not statistically significant.

The models also predicted that sea levels would rise much faster than they actually have. The models didn't predict the significant cooling the oceans have undergone since 2003--which is the opposite of what you'd expect with global warming. Cooler oceans have also put a damper on claims that global warming is the cause of more frequent or intense hurricanes. The models also failed to predict falling concentrations of methane in the atmosphere, another surprise.

Meanwhile, new scientific evidence keeps challenging previous assumptions. The latest report, for instance, takes greater note of the role of pollutant particles, which are thought to reflect sunlight back to space, supplying a cooling effect. More scientists are also studying the effect of solar activity on climate, and some believe it alone is responsible for recent warming.

All this appears to be resulting in a more cautious scientific approach, which is largely good news. We're told that the upcoming report is also missing any reference to the infamous "hockey stick," a study by Michael Mann that purported to show 900 years of minor fluctuations in temperature, followed by a dramatic spike over the past century. The IPCC featured the graph in 2001, but it has since been widely rebutted.

While everyone concedes that the Earth is about a degree Celsius warmer than it was a century ago, the debate continues over the cause and consequences. We don't deny that carbon emissions may play a role, but we don't believe that the case is sufficiently proven to justify a revolution in global energy use. The economic dislocations of such an abrupt policy change could be far more severe than warming itself, especially if it reduces the growth and innovation that would help the world cope with, say, rising sea levels. There are also other problems--AIDS, malaria and clean drinking water, for example--whose claims on scarce resources are at least as urgent as climate change.

The IPCC report should be understood as one more contribution to the warming debate, not some definitive last word that justifies radical policy change. It can be hard to keep one's head when everyone else is predicting the Apocalypse, but that's all the more reason to keep cool and focus on the actual science.


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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:18 pm

Ted wrote:Is that causing the ice shelves to melt?
Will the additional fresh water and decrease in salinity seriously effect the “Pump that governs the Gulf Stream and other oceanic currents?
Will Chinese drivers end up being the nail in the Co2 coffin?
Well?
The demand for an immediate answer is all part of the political game and presupposes that there's anything that humans can do about the process. If human causes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere amount to less than 1% of the amounts generated by plate techtonics, what can we do, or why should we do anything?
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Post by Teresa B » Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:22 pm

I think some of us are on different wavelengths in the essence of what we're trying to say.

Haydnseek, I think speaking of global warming as the "religious dogma" of the secularists is off base. I don't deny there may be some people who use a "cause", whether it's environmental, or whatever, to express some spiritual fervor. But global warming is a potentially serious threat, not some apocalyptic vision written by some guy 2000 years ago.

Also, some people are advocating things like high taxes on gasoline, conservation and alternate energy research. It's just that due to--yes, political and big business interests, we're getting a late start.

Corlyss, I would not dispute the fact that science is imperfect, scientists are biased by political beliefs (as is everyone), and theories get refuted. Maybe this is a "bump" but I have no reason to think these scientists are any more politically motivated than other groups of scientists. Should we decide medical research is bogus because a lot of it is done by boomers who obviously have political opinions? And also, medical decisions change over time because of new knowledge. But we don't necessarily say the previous researchers were suspect.

I didn't specifically mention Kyoto at all, for the reasons you state.

No, we're not all going to sing Kumbaya, but I don't see how anybody can disagree with making efforts to keep the planet hospitable for our own existence. I'm not talking about saving the blue-tongued skink, I mean humankind along with all species. The DNA you save may be your own.

Teresa
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:31 pm

Teresa B wrote:Should we decide medical research is bogus because a lot of it is done by boomers who obviously have political opinions?
Much scientific research into genetic differences between the races and between men and women has been effectively stopped for 30 years by the political opinions of Boomer scientists that such research was racist and sexist. I say research that ignores such important and obvious factors where they have consequence is indeed bogus. Just like the decades of heart research that was conducted only on men, and which left physicians and women dangerously ignorant of the signs of heart disease in women. So PC has literally killed thousands of women.
No, we're not all going to sing Kumbaya, but I don't see how anybody can disagree with making efforts to keep the planet hospitable for our own existence. I'm not talking about saving the blue-tongued skink, I mean humankind along with all species. The DNA you save may be your own.
I am unmoved. Humans are in exponentially greater danger from politics than from global warming, although the politics of global warming might kill off large sectors of an otherwise prosperous economy.
Last edited by Corlyss_D on Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Ted » Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:32 pm

One thing we can and should do CD is “stop the bleeding" where and when we can.
There was a fantastic NOVA years back about how Thoreau polluted Walden Pond.

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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:36 pm

Ted wrote:One thing we can and should do CD is “stop the bleeding" where and when we can.
If I get to define "bleeding," I might agree. 8)
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Post by piston » Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:13 pm

It is also possible that, in addition to some Republican-Democrat dichotomy, people remain divided on climatic issues because of their relative connectedness or disconnectedness with the environment. Or, to state this point differently, we do not all share the same degree of anthropocentric habitat. What I do know from personal experience is that, even from a purely anthropocentric perspective, a completely silent, denuded natural environment greatly diminishes my quality of life. This is not some hypothetical scenario; it's what one finds in any large-scale clear-cutting environment, such as what I witnessed several years ago in northern Quebec: an empty landscape where there flew no insect over the pond where I was vainly attempting to fish in.

As I said before, little things have potentially drastic consequences, such as a water level that rises too high too soon in the spring thereby destroying loon nests. I understand that "nature" has overcome these unusual fluctuations in the past. But "nature" used to be far more vital than it has become over the course of the last two centuries. People are actually counting the number of loons in Maine, along with several other species and were it not for some environmentally conscious people in the sixties and seventies, there would be no American symbol of strength and of foresight gliding over, far above in the sky.

And it's obvious in Maine and elsewhere in northern New England that humans get rapidly fed up with living strictly in a prospering economy of humans. The region has been "invaded" by a countless number of them ever since the days of Thoreau, or a few decades later. In summary, the issue cannot be addressed strictly or even mainly in terms of humans because humans themselves will realize too late their shortsightedness.
Last edited by piston on Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:17 pm

piston wrote:This is not some hypothetical scenario
Yes it is. Nature requires a longer timeline than humans are prepared to tolerate. Okay, so it was pretty barren 1, 5, or even 10 years after clear-cutting. It won't stay that way forever, as the catastrophic fire in Yellowstone in 1988 proved. All sorts of dire predictions about the recoverability of the park proved to be wildly sentimental, hysterical, and wrong.
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Post by Teresa B » Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:26 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Teresa B wrote:Should we decide medical research is bogus because a lot of it is done by boomers who obviously have political opinions?
Much scientific research into genetic differences between the races and between men and women has been effectively stopped for 30 years by the political opinions of Boomer scientists that such research was racist and sexist. I say research that ignores such important and obvious factors where they have consequence is indeed bogus. Just like the decades of heart research that was conducted only on men, and which left physicians and women dangerously ignorant of the signs of heart disease in women. So PC has literally killed thousands of women.
No, we're not all going to sing Kumbaya, but I don't see how anybody can disagree with making efforts to keep the planet hospitable for our own existence. I'm not talking about saving the blue-tongued skink, I mean humankind along with all species. The DNA you save may be your own.
I am unmoved. Humans are in exponentially greater danger from politics than from global warming, although the politics of global warming might kill off large sectors of an otherwise prosperous economy.
No one said there are no bogus medical reports, and I did agree on the women's heart research being completely biased, but now thankfully changing. But just because some science is suspect, you can't assume all of it is. Why is the research on global warming necessarily bogus just because there is a perceived "liberal" agenda? Is it not possible that climate change is occurring, and that human activity has increased it?

And of course we can kill ourselves much more quickly as a result of political differences, but is that a reason to ignore the only environment we have? (of course, there's the prospect of space colonization...) If efforts to use less fossil fuels and produce less carbon emissions, etc, cause some economic problems, then they will solve others--for example, getting other countries including us, free of dependence on Middle East oil. Some scientific brainstorming in the direction of alternative energy production could be a welcome outcome, too.

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alternate energy

Post by Agnes Selby » Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:59 pm

... free of dependence on Middle East oil. Some scientific brainstorming in the direction of alternative energy production could be a welcome outcome, too.

Teresa[/quote]

...and this long overdue.

Regards,
Agnes.

------------------

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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 05, 2007 7:42 pm

Teresa B wrote:Why is the research on global warming necessarily bogus just because there is a perceived "liberal" agenda?
Because the solutions just happen by some lucky coincidence to be the same ones advocated by the leftists for over a century. That ought to make every one suspicious, not just conservatives. Socialism/Communism proved itself a disaster finally in the 1980s. Why should we resurrect it now in the name of environmental hysteria?
Is it not possible that climate change is occurring, and that human activity has increased it?


I acknowledged both for microclimates and possibly regional climates. I reject it for global climate.
If efforts to use less fossil fuels and produce less carbon emissions, etc, cause some economic problems, then they will solve others--for example, getting other countries including us, free of dependence on Middle East oil. Some scientific brainstorming in the direction of alternative energy production could be a welcome outcome, too.


It's going to be a very very very very long time before any alternative fuels will be as relatively cheap as oil. Yes, we ought to wean ourselves from mid-east oil as soon as possible for national security reasons. But environmentalists just happen to despise nuclear fuel and shale oil as well, two industries that could possibly pick up the slack sometime in the next century. The environmentalists will never permit the US to capitalize on either of them. It's a monstrous Catch-22.
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Post by RebLem » Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:04 pm

Just found this press release on the website of the British Conservative Party, dated 2 FEB 2007:

Ainsworth: Mankind is responsible for climate change, now we must be responsible for preventing it

Commenting on the first part of the IPCC report that was published today, Peter Ainsworth, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, said:

"I congratulate the IPCC working group on their latest report. The fact that the IPCC scientists work by consensus makes these findings even more compelling: human beings are, with a 90 per cent probability, responsible for accelerating climate change.

"Whilst other commentators have forecast a faster rate of global warming, we need to recognise that a rise of three degrees would be extremely significant: temperatures have only risen 5 degrees since the last ice age, and a rise of 2 degrees is generally accepted as the 'safe' limit of global warming.

"This report simply reinforces the need for urgent action. As someone once said, good planets are hard to come by: we should probably look after the one we've got."

He added:

"The science is clear - mankind is responsible for climate change. Now we must be responsible for preventing it.

"The good news is that the technology to tackle the problem already exists; but if we are to stop climate change, we need a cultural change too. This has to come from the Government, because it is they who set the rules of the game for everyone else.

"In the UK, a climate change bill, with annual targets, set and monitored by an independent body, will be a vital first step. The Government has no time to waste in putting its own house in order and in driving forward the search for robust international agreement on what needs to happen next if we are to prevent social, economic and ecological disaster."

Peter Ainsworth MP
02/02/2007

http://www.conservatives.com/tile.do?de ... _id=134879

Oh, yeah, and one other thing. Right at the top of the home page, the most prominently displayed item is an invitation by the Conservative Party to sign a petition opposing budget cuts for the National Health Service proposed by Gordon Brown. Just shows ya what the right wing in the UK thinks of "socialized medicine." RebLem
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 05, 2007 8:11 pm

RebLem wrote:Just found this press release on the website of the British Conservative Party, dated 2 FEB 2007:

Ainsworth: Mankind is responsible for climate change, now we must be responsible for preventing it
Yes, well, a British MP would most certainly know. I guess that settles that.
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Post by jbuck919 » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:45 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
RebLem wrote:Just found this press release on the website of the British Conservative Party, dated 2 FEB 2007:

Ainsworth: Mankind is responsible for climate change, now we must be responsible for preventing it
Yes, well, a British MP would most certainly know. I guess that settles that.
Or a former US vice president.

One of the things about this situation that nags me, and someone else here already alluded to it in some way, is that the people who cry panic on this subject tend to be the same ones who scream bloody murder when it is suggested that more assertive use of nuclear power would help.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:34 pm

RebLem wrote:Oh, yeah, and one other thing. Right at the top of the home page, the most prominently displayed item is an invitation by the Conservative Party to sign a petition opposing budget cuts for the National Health Service proposed by Gordon Brown. Just shows ya what the right wing in the UK thinks of "socialized medicine." RebLem
Eh? Brown is Labour (aka house-broken Communists); the Conservatives (aka house-broken socialists lately). Which one of them is "right-wing?"

BTW just out of curiosity, are there any conservatives in your lexicon besides "right-wing?" I've always thought it was a cute media stunt to refer to Democrats as Democrats, but Republicans are always "right-wing" or "conservative" Republicans, just like they want folks to think of them, i.e., Democrats are normal but Republicans are extremists.
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Post by RebLem » Mon Feb 05, 2007 10:53 pm

jbuck919 wrote:
Corlyss_D wrote:
RebLem wrote:Just found this press release on the website of the British Conservative Party, dated 2 FEB 2007:

Ainsworth: Mankind is responsible for climate change, now we must be responsible for preventing it
Yes, well, a British MP would most certainly know. I guess that settles that.
Or a former US vice president.

One of the things about this situation that nags me, and someone else here already alluded to it in some way, is that the people who cry panic on this subject tend to be the same ones who scream bloody murder when it is suggested that more assertive use of nuclear power would help.
I don't know about anyone else, but for me there are two kinds of problems with nuclear power. One is one that is inherent in the beast itself, at least at our level of technology--what to do with the waste. Almost any plan results in all sorts of NIMBY problems. I will not believe that anyone is really in favor of it until they are willing to say, "Its ok with me if they bury it in the lot next to my house." I have absolutely never heard anyone say that, and EVERY advocate of nuclear energy who does not say that is a hypocrite. Some day, we may develop the technology to cheaply and safely transport the waste into the sun. When that day comes, this problem with be solved; not before.

The other set of problems is with the industry in the US, which, unlike the French nuclear industry, is full of boneheads. They insisted, for example, on building the Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor right over an earthquake fault line. Absolutely the best place for it, they told us. One of the problems at Three Mile Island was that they had two sets of controls for two controllers. Each was a mirror image of the other, and yet they expected people to be able to work either module. They should have been exactly the same layout instead of mirror images, but instead of having psychologists who understand how the mind works design the thing, they apparently chose to have them designed by interior decorators, who decided that mirror imaging just looked better. Like I said. Boneheads.
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Post by RebLem » Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:33 am

Corlyss_D wrote:
RebLem wrote:Oh, yeah, and one other thing. Right at the top of the home page, the most prominently displayed item is an invitation by the Conservative Party to sign a petition opposing budget cuts for the National Health Service proposed by Gordon Brown. Just shows ya what the right wing in the UK thinks of "socialized medicine." RebLem
Eh? Brown is Labour (aka house-broken Communists); the Conservatives (aka house-broken socialists lately). Which one of them is "right-wing?"

BTW just out of curiosity, are there any conservatives in your lexicon besides "right-wing?" I've always thought it was a cute media stunt to refer to Democrats as Democrats, but Republicans are always "right-wing" or "conservative" Republicans, just like they want folks to think of them, i.e., Democrats are normal but Republicans are extremists.
Very interesting response, Corlyss. You spend one paragraph trying to discredit and marginalize both of the top two political parties in the United Kingdom by assigning pejorative names for them with NO evidence that they are appropriate. Then in your next paragraph, you B & M about the MSM and people here allegedly trying to marginalize Republicans by giving them what you allege we think are pejorative names.

Very interesting, indeed. Not very consistent, though, which you are on record as saying you like to be.
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Post by Corlyss_D » Tue Feb 06, 2007 2:30 am

RebLem wrote: Very interesting response, Corlyss. You spend one paragraph trying to discredit and marginalize both of the top two political parties in the United Kingdom by assigning pejorative names for them with NO evidence that they are appropriate. Then in your next paragraph, you B & M about the MSM and people here allegedly trying to marginalize Republicans by giving them what you allege we think are pejorative names.

Very interesting, indeed. Not very consistent, though, which you are on record as saying you like to be.
So who besides me are you complaining about? In your original post.

And besides, I thought you didn't like consistency, so this should thrill you beyond words, if indeed I am being inconsistent.
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Post by burnitdown » Tue Feb 06, 2007 11:06 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:I thought you didn't like consistency, so this should thrill you beyond words, if indeed I am being inconsistent.
A postmodern Corlyss?

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Post by schrodingasdawg » Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:43 am

I feel too lazy right now to look up my sources and exact numbers (I'm on the forums right now to avoid doing homework anyway), but here's some info of scientific relevance on the topic of anthropogenic (ie, caused by humans) climate change. I won't go into politics, because I'm not particularly knowledgable in that topic.

I'll break this post into important points.

1 - The warming trend is not natural

First, how would the climate behave in the absence of anthropogenic climate change? There are small variations in the Earth's orbit and orientation of its axis which periodically occur, called the Milankovitch Cycles. These cause the Earth's mean temperature to fluctuate with a period of some dozens of thousands of years. If the Earth's mean temperature had continued following the trends it has in the past, it would have been cooling since 6000 years ago and continued for something like 23,000 years.

On the contrary, one of the coldest recorded periods in human history, the Little Ice Age, ended mid 19-th century. It should have continued getting colder, as would be natural, but since then the Earth has been "rapidly" getting warmer. This was around when human industry began to have a substantial effect on the ecosystem.

2 - There is an increase in atmospheric CO2

This is something I think most people would agree on. Most of those who think antropogenic global warming theory is a "conspiracy theory" of some sort would agree that CO2 is increasing, too, but they try to attribute it to natural caused.

3 - The CO2 increase is anthropogenic

For one thing, nature does have an effect on the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. The effect it has, however, can be to act as either a source or a sink. If the amount of CO2 being added to the atmosphere is measured, and compared against the amount of CO2 being pumped into the atmosphere by anthropogenic sources, you find that our emissions of CO2 exceed the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere; nature itself acts as a sink, using up a significant portion of the additional CO2 we add to the atmosphere.

For another, C14 is regularly produced by interactions of matter with cosmic rays. There is a set C14/C12 ratio for "natural" carbon dioxide, and for living things. However, when a living thing dies, the C14 slowly decays and that ratio decreases. (This fact is used in carbon dating.) Since fossil fuels are all organic matter that has been dead for a very long time, the C14/C12 ratio is very small. Measuring the C14/C12 ratio of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and comparing it against the natural ratio can be used to tell how much of the CO2 comes from burning fossil fuels. A considerable portion does, but there's more fossil fuel CO2 in the Northern than the Southern hemisphere.

This supports anthropogenic global warming theory because most industry is located in the northern hemisphere. Moreoever, due to interhemispheric mixing (if you've read On the Beach, it's pretty much the same mechanism), the anthropogenic CO2 increase in the Southern hemisphere should (and does) lag behind the increase in the Norther hemisphere.

4 - The warming is correlated to CO2 increases

You've probably all seen graphs of the mean surface temperature of the Earth increasing over the past 150 years. It would be better, though, to look at graphs of the Southern hemisphere, Northern hemisphere, and the north Atlantic alone. The Northern hemisphere shows the greatest increase in mean surface temperature, as it should. The north Atlantic shows less of an increase than the rest of the Northern hemisphere, but this is because the north Atlantic isn't well circulated and the melting of the Artic ice cap introduces cold water to the half-ocean. (Moreover, there's a hypothesis that the additional cold water inhibits thermohaline circulation, and enough additional cold water might break the circulation altogether.)

5 - Climatology is a nonlinear dynamical system

Nonlinear differential equations can often only be solved numerically, and even using the best approximation methods, errors will accumulate with enough iterations (ie, if you want to look at something too far ahead in the future). Also, many nonlinear systems exhibit a property called chaos, in which small variations in initial conditions can lead to drastic variations in final conditions, meaning that small random errors in measurement become nontrivial when looking far enough ahead. Because of this, it is impossible to predict the exact temperature or precipitates in any place at any time.

However, computer models can still be used to predict the weather to some accuracy. But because of the inherent uncertainty in nonlinear systems, these models need to be tested extensively to first see if they can predict well-understood phenomena before they can be used to test theories and hypotheses. Computer models to simulate global warming would first be tested on El Nino, for instance, to check on how accurate they are before using them for their intended purpose.

6 - Computer models suggest the warming is anthropogenic

Computer simulations are done to predict general trends in climate with only natural sources of climate variation, and then with both natural and anthropogenic sources. The simulations with anthropogenic sources correspond most closely with actual recorded temperatures.

Actually, I decided I'd look for a few links for now, since there's no way I can post all this info without at least some sources. For some of the points... some of the info I got from book sources, so I can't give links to websites, though.

1

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1980Sci...207..943I

3

The stuff about C14/C12 ratios was in a book.

http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/rele ... rbon.shtml

The link pertains to nature acting as a CO2 sink.

4

(I actually found graphs online, but I lost the links. I'll find them and edit the post later.)

6
http://www.ucar.edu/research/climate/warming.jsp

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