Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
July 24, 2014, 11:41:52 am
HomePredMockPollEVCalcAFEWIKIHelpLogin Register
News: Don't forget to get your 2013 Gubernatorial Endorsements and Predictions in!

+  Atlas Forum
|-+  General Politics
| |-+  Political Debate (Moderator: Beet)
| | |-+  Motives behind global warming skepticism
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 Print
Author Topic: Motives behind global warming skepticism  (Read 10335 times)
Tik
ComradeCarter
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 4830
United States


View Profile
« on: April 02, 2007, 06:37:08 pm »
Ignore

The debate about global warming divides people into two major crowds - those that believe there is no debate and those that insist it's all a gigantic hoax of some kind. The latter cry about how much money we will waste trying to combat this threat that they say doesn't exist. They say the scientific studies are backed by people with selfish motives - they want to increase taxes, they have connections to companies that could profit through the changes passed because of it, and on it goes. The other side offers similar accusations, saying the others are in the pockets of Big Oil™, etc.

Here is what I do not understand about those who insist it's a conspiracy of some kind: Why? Even if there is no such thing as global warming, aren't the changes that would be made beneficial anyway? We need to wean ourselves off of oil and fossil fuels anyway. More restrictions and regulation on industry might hurt the economy for a short time, but these changes need to be made sometime.. why gamble on potential crisis?

I don't know where their motives come from, as it seems to me from a moral standpoint it would be foolish to just 'wait and see'. Do these people simply hate government spending on anything by default? Do they just hate the hassle of having to change their own routine, even if it MAY benefit society otherwise? Is there some wider benefit to not taking precautions or putting in incentives to change that isn't related to their checking account? In the face of potential disaster, isn't it just the right thing to do?
Logged

IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
John Dibble
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 18788
Japan


View Profile
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2007, 07:13:57 pm »
Ignore

The debate about global warming divides people into two major crowds - those that believe there is no debate and those that insist it's all a gigantic hoax of some kind.

What, so there's no group that believes that there may or may not be warming, that if it does exist that the human component may or may not be as significant as some claim, and that there is still ongoing legitimage scientific debate on the subject? Or there's no large group that doesn't believe it but just thinks it's flawed science rather than a hoax? Or people who firmly believe it but acknowledge that there's still legitimate debate going on? There are a lot people inbetween you know.

Piece of advice - don't try to paint things as only black and white. The global warming folks did that and that in my mind is a big reason why the full on opposite reaction (the folks who deny it outright) became significant.

Quote
Is there some wider benefit to not taking precautions or putting in incentives to change that isn't related to their checking account? In the face of potential disaster, isn't it just the right thing to do?

Well, if you don't believe there's going to be a disaster, why would you prepare for it? If someone believes that global warming isn't occuring (is a hoax or just bad science, doesn't matter either way) or won't cause any major problems then to them it seems a waste to use our resources to prepare for something that to them isn't a problem. Yeah, maybe it has to do with their checking account, but if they don't see a tangible benefit to doing so then it's just going to seem wasteful to them. That's not to say they're correct - they could be dead wrong, but if they legitimately don't see a problem then don't expect them to want to spend money on fixing it.

And of course there are some who probably do think that there's warming but care more about their money, but if money is their priority then don't expect anything different. Tongue
Logged

Tik
ComradeCarter
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 4830
United States


View Profile
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2007, 07:25:13 pm »
Ignore

The debate about global warming divides people into two major crowds - those that believe there is no debate and those that insist it's all a gigantic hoax of some kind.

What, so there's no group that believes that there may or may not be warming, that if it does exist that the human component may or may not be as significant as some claim, and that there is still ongoing legitimage scientific debate on the subject? Or there's no large group that doesn't believe it but just thinks it's flawed science rather than a hoax? Or people who firmly believe it but acknowledge that there's still legitimate debate going on? There are a lot people inbetween you know.

Piece of advice - don't try to paint things as only black and white. The global warming folks did that and that in my mind is a big reason why the full on opposite reaction (the folks who deny it outright) became significant.

Sorry, I didn't mean to paint the whole scenerio as black and white - I was only referring to those that DO see it as black and white (those convinced it exists vs. those convinced it's a hoax). This thread isn't about the middle ground - by definition there is plenty of rationality for skepticism or concern in the middle ground.

Quote
Quote
Is there some wider benefit to not taking precautions or putting in incentives to change that isn't related to their checking account? In the face of potential disaster, isn't it just the right thing to do?

Well, if you don't believe there's going to be a disaster, why would you prepare for it? If someone believes that global warming isn't occuring (is a hoax or just bad science, doesn't matter either way) or won't cause any major problems then to them it seems a waste to use our resources to prepare for something that to them isn't a problem. Yeah, maybe it has to do with their checking account, but if they don't see a tangible benefit to doing so then it's just going to seem wasteful to them. That's not to say they're correct - they could be dead wrong, but if they legitimately don't see a problem then don't expect them to want to spend money on fixing it.

And of course there are some who probably do think that there's warming but care more about their money, but if money is their priority then don't expect anything different. Tongue

Of course if you are convinced there won't be disaster you will not be moved to prepare. But if the majority of people believe it's worth preparing for in case or that it coincides with other benefits, why so vehemently oppose them?

It's presumptuous to say the majority believes it's an imminent danger, but I don't doubt most people in the Western world would say it's worth making sacrifices for. I am looking at the fringe opposition and what motivations they have. I see them as a minority getting extremely heated over an issue that, even if overblown, coincides with plenty of benefits. What then causes their hatred?
« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 07:27:05 pm by Tik »Logged

Harry
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 18706
United States


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2007, 08:41:15 pm »
Ignore

Although you're technically right Tik, the first group of people you describe, those who believe there is virtually no scientific debate on the subject, are the correct ones.

Global warming is just as accepted by scientists as evolution, or the Holocaust by historians. (or the moon landing)  Sure, there's a vocal but insignificant minority that attracts attention, but they're not treated as in any way credible by mainstream science.
Logged
IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
John Dibble
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 18788
Japan


View Profile
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2007, 10:08:01 pm »
Ignore

Sorry, I didn't mean to paint the whole scenerio as black and white - I was only referring to those that DO see it as black and white (those convinced it exists vs. those convinced it's a hoax). This thread isn't about the middle ground - by definition there is plenty of rationality for skepticism or concern in the middle ground.

No problem then.

Quote
Of course if you are convinced there won't be disaster you will not be moved to prepare. But if the majority of people believe it's worth preparing for in case or that it coincides with other benefits, why so vehemently oppose them?

Well, again it might come back to their checkbook. Even if the majority wants something, many still would oppose having your tax dollars spent on it if they believe the majority was wrong. If they feel that they're paying for nothing then of course they're going to vehemently oppose it. Personally I'm like that - even if the majority wants something, if I oppose it I won't just sit quietly. You probably do it too on certain issues.

Although you're technically right Tik, the first group of people you describe, those who believe there is virtually no scientific debate on the subject, are the correct ones.

Global warming is just as accepted by scientists as evolution, or the Holocaust by historians. (or the moon landing)  Sure, there's a vocal but insignificant minority that attracts attention, but they're not treated as in any way credible by mainstream science.

Actually, there's plenty of scientific debate on the subject. Realistically though it's not so much anymore as to whether global warming is occuring, the debate is on how much of it there actually is, how much humans are contributing to it, how much of it is natural, and what the overall effects of the warming will be.
Logged

David S
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5257


View Profile
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2007, 10:18:39 pm »
Ignore

The first question is whether the 1 degree increase in the earth’s temperature that occurred over the last century is natural or caused by man. That’s a question that most folks would rather leave to the eggheads in the scientific community. But more people start getting interested when you talk about what should be done. In Al Gore’s presentation, one of the slides asks; “Are you ready to change the way you live?” Al is not kidding on that point. The things he proposes really would change the way you live. His first proposal is for an immediate freeze on CO2 emissions. New cars, new houses, new industries and new people (i.e. babies) are all sources of CO2. Would that proposal mean that there could be no new cars or houses or businesses or people? That seems like a problem to me… a serious problem. Also the fact that it’s immediate would leave no time to build alternative sources of energy.  In my estimation that proposal would send the economy into a tailspin. His second proposal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 90% by 2050. That would exacerbate the problem and make it virtually impossible to ever catch up.

The point about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels is a valid issue but it’s not the same as reducing CO2 emissions. Let me give you an example: If the electric utility companies were confronted with an immediate freeze on CO2 emissions how would they meet that mandate while at the same time providing more electricity for a growing population?  Well one way might be to shift their electricity generation away from coal fired plants and utilize gas fired plants more. Possibly they could convert some of their coal plants to gas.  Natural gas produces less CO2 per KWH of electricity generated. The conversion should not be too difficult and they could get more power and less CO2. But coal is one energy resource we have in abundance. Is it wise to abandon it? Is it wise to use a valuable resource like gas to produce electricity when coal could be used instead? And we wouldn’t be reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. We’d just be shifting from one to another.

The most well known proposal for dealing with Global warming is the Kyoto treaty
People have evaluated the effectiveness of the Kyoto treaty in mitigating global warming.
The following graph which comes from the Senate’s website shows the expected temperature rise with Kyoto and with business as usual i.e. doing  nothing.


http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Images.View&File_id=052e9760-802a-23ad-4150-a04af1ba1588&ImageGallery_id=04bf1b76-802a-23ad-438b-dec552db7c92
Click on "Wigley chart"


It may be hard to read the text field but it says that the warming predicted to occur by 2050 would still occur by 2053 if Kyoto is implemented. I doubt that anyone really has a handle on how much Kyoto would cost but it ain’t gonna be cheap. So is it worth it?

When you look at the potential effects of the proposals you come to the conclusion that we better be damned sure about CO2 induced warming before we start taking such drastic steps.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 10:29:57 pm by David S »Logged
opebo
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 47627


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2007, 10:59:39 pm »
Ignore

It is hilarious that conspiracy is claimed about the side which has nothing to gain from their position, and not the side whose economic interest lies in continuing the destructive processes. 
Logged

The essence of democracy at its purest is a lynch mob

muon2
Moderators
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 8434


View Profile
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2007, 02:07:57 am »
Ignore

The debate about global warming divides people into two major crowds - those that believe there is no debate and those that insist it's all a gigantic hoax of some kind.

What, so there's no group that believes that there may or may not be warming, that if it does exist that the human component may or may not be as significant as some claim, and that there is still ongoing legitimage scientific debate on the subject? Or there's no large group that doesn't believe it but just thinks it's flawed science rather than a hoax? Or people who firmly believe it but acknowledge that there's still legitimate debate going on? There are a lot people inbetween you know.

Piece of advice - don't try to paint things as only black and white. The global warming folks did that and that in my mind is a big reason why the full on opposite reaction (the folks who deny it outright) became significant.

I agree with this last sentence, but there's a bit of irony in it. If you read the scientific papers they do not speak in terms of a "black or white" view of global warming. If anything, I find them to err on the side of caution about their conclusions. The media and celebrities like to magnify those scientific conclusions, however. The serious analysis gets lost and the headline becomes the story.
Logged


Lunar Eclipse of April 15, 2014 with the star Spica.
Gustaf
Moderators
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 26763


Political Matrix
E: 0.39, S: -0.70

View Profile
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2007, 08:54:07 am »
Ignore

It's largely a knee-jerk reaction, from both sides. Some people simply like the idea of regulating the industry and some people don't. Very few people seriously allow facts to affect their opinions.
Logged

This place really has become a cesspool of degenerate whores...

Economic score: +0.9
Social score: -2.61

In MN for fantasy stuff, member of the most recently dissolved centrist party.
David S
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5257


View Profile
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2007, 01:31:47 pm »
Ignore

The debate about global warming divides people into two major crowds - those that believe there is no debate and those that insist it's all a gigantic hoax of some kind.

What, so there's no group that believes that there may or may not be warming, that if it does exist that the human component may or may not be as significant as some claim, and that there is still ongoing legitimage scientific debate on the subject? Or there's no large group that doesn't believe it but just thinks it's flawed science rather than a hoax? Or people who firmly believe it but acknowledge that there's still legitimate debate going on? There are a lot people inbetween you know.

Piece of advice - don't try to paint things as only black and white. The global warming folks did that and that in my mind is a big reason why the full on opposite reaction (the folks who deny it outright) became significant.

I agree with this last sentence, but there's a bit of irony in it. If you read the scientific papers they do not speak in terms of a "black or white" view of global warming. If anything, I find them to err on the side of caution about their conclusions. The media and celebrities like to magnify those scientific conclusions, however. The serious analysis gets lost and the headline becomes the story.

Muon2 since you are a scientist I would like to ask your opinion on a few questions if you don't mind:
'
Regarding the graph which shows earth's temp and CO2 levels over the last 1/2 million years:
1)What causes CO2 to rise so dramatically at the start of the interglacial warming periods?

2)If CO2 causes warming and warming then causes more CO2 its a positive feedback loop. That should turn into a runaway greenhouse effect like on Venus. Also warming causes more water vapor which has an even bigger greenhouse effect than CO2 so it should exacerbate the runaway effect.
So what causes CO2 to suddenly stop rising and then decline?

3) Why does the CO2 curve lag the temperature curve?

4) Given that Kyoto would do little to stem warming what would you propose as a means to mitigate it?

I don't mean this to be argumentative, just imformative.
Logged
frenger
Bono
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 11697
Portugal


Political Matrix
E: 8.65, S: -4.17

View Profile
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2007, 02:01:51 pm »
Ignore

Regarding that chart, can anyone tell me exactly what the global temperature IS. I always see charts for deviancy, but they never tell us what the mean temperature actually is.
Logged

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." – H.L. Mencken



NO, I don't want to go back to Fantasy Elections.
IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
John Dibble
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 18788
Japan


View Profile
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2007, 02:10:06 pm »
Ignore

I agree with this last sentence, but there's a bit of irony in it. If you read the scientific papers they do not speak in terms of a "black or white" view of global warming. If anything, I find them to err on the side of caution about their conclusions. The media and celebrities like to magnify those scientific conclusions, however. The serious analysis gets lost and the headline becomes the story.

Yes, in general I prefer talking to scientists about the issue and they tend to be more cautious about their statements. However you are right that the media and whatnot does have a tendency to exaggerate it as they don't generally have a sufficient understanding of the scientific process and do have some ulterior motives. (ratings and such in the case of the media)
Logged

Sam Spade
SamSpade
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 27871


View Profile
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2007, 02:24:58 pm »
Ignore

My skepticism is more practical, really.  And it boils down to this:

If meterologists have trouble predicting weather one day in advance, how can we feel exactly confident that they'll be able to predict weather 10 or 100 years in advance?

Also, in analyzing past weather, I have issues with relying on data sets for such a short period of time as 10 to 100 years.  And the data sets that have been analyzed prior to 100 years ago present issues for both camps that I have seen neither conveniently explain.
Logged
muon2
Moderators
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 8434


View Profile
« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2007, 05:28:10 pm »
Ignore

The debate about global warming divides people into two major crowds - those that believe there is no debate and those that insist it's all a gigantic hoax of some kind.

What, so there's no group that believes that there may or may not be warming, that if it does exist that the human component may or may not be as significant as some claim, and that there is still ongoing legitimage scientific debate on the subject? Or there's no large group that doesn't believe it but just thinks it's flawed science rather than a hoax? Or people who firmly believe it but acknowledge that there's still legitimate debate going on? There are a lot people inbetween you know.

Piece of advice - don't try to paint things as only black and white. The global warming folks did that and that in my mind is a big reason why the full on opposite reaction (the folks who deny it outright) became significant.

I agree with this last sentence, but there's a bit of irony in it. If you read the scientific papers they do not speak in terms of a "black or white" view of global warming. If anything, I find them to err on the side of caution about their conclusions. The media and celebrities like to magnify those scientific conclusions, however. The serious analysis gets lost and the headline becomes the story.

Muon2 since you are a scientist I would like to ask your opinion on a few questions if you don't mind:
I'll give it a fair shot. Keep in mind that I'm well read on the subject, but not a climatologist.

Quote
Regarding the graph which shows earth's temp and CO2 levels over the last 1/2 million years:
1)What causes CO2 to rise so dramatically at the start of the interglacial warming periods?
As I understand it, astronomers have reasonably clear links between changes in the earth's orbit and the interglacial warming periods. A lot of CO2 is locked up in the ice and when the glaciers recede the CO2 is released. The fresh water does not hold as much CO2 as the ice.

Quote
2)If CO2 causes warming and warming then causes more CO2 its a positive feedback loop. That should turn into a runaway greenhouse effect like on Venus. Also warming causes more water vapor which has an even bigger greenhouse effect than CO2 so it should exacerbate the runaway effect.
So what causes CO2 to suddenly stop rising and then decline?
If the release of CO2 was driven by release from ice then the ocean is available to reabsorb it. The ocean would have more water from glacial runoff, but the rate that the ocean can pick up the CO2 is much slower. A decline is reasonable as long as the temperature does not exceed a critical point where the runaway effect takes over.

Quote
3) Why does the CO2 curve lag the temperature curve?
To the extent that the interglacial warming is due to excess solar heating, the CO2 changes followed the cause.

Quote
4) Given that Kyoto would do little to stem warming what would you propose as a means to mitigate it?

I don't mean this to be argumentative, just imformative.
I'm no fan of Kyoto. I think that it has a great many problems and I'm not surprised that the effect may be minimal in the near decades. I prefer a multifaceted approach that uses a number of incremental improvemnets and can vary by the economy that implements them. I would expect that the difference from a no change option would be small in the initial decades, but the difference would manifest itself more dramatically as time allows the small corrections to take hold.
Logged


Lunar Eclipse of April 15, 2014 with the star Spica.
David S
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5257


View Profile
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2007, 11:13:00 pm »
Ignore

Muon thanks for the response.  With regard to CO2 absorption, as I understand it the solubility of CO2 in water decreases as the temperature goes up. So it seems to me that the oceans should be giving up CO2 as they warm not absorbing it.

To my way of thinking it is equally plausible that solar activity causes the warming and the warming causes the release of CO2. When the solar event ends cooling starts and CO2 is gradually reabsorbed into the cooling oceans.  That would explain what causes the warming, the rise in CO2, the cooling, the decrease in CO2 and the time lag. I think this is more or less the theory advanced in the Global Warming Swindle video.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2007, 11:29:25 pm by David S »Logged
Harry
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 18706
United States


View Profile
« Reply #15 on: April 04, 2007, 12:59:39 am »
Ignore

there is no "time lag."  The reason it looks like it on the chart is that temperature marks are measured at different points in time than CO2 marks.
Logged
David S
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5257


View Profile
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2007, 11:34:02 am »
Ignore

there is no "time lag."  The reason it looks like it on the chart is that temperature marks are measured at different points in time than CO2 marks.

The time lag is noted frequently throughout the literature. The following comes from The National Climatic Data Center. I assume it can be regarded as authoritative. It notes that CO2 increased 600+/-400 years (i.e. 200 to 1000yrs) after the warming. It also notes that high CO2 concentrations can be maintained for thousands of years during glaciations, Meaning that the CO2 is still high after cooling occurs.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/vostokco2.html
Ice Core Records of Atmospheric CO2 Around the Last Three Glacial Terminations
Abstract:
Air trapped in bubbles in polar ice cores constitutes an archive for the reconstruction of the global carbon cycle and the relation between greenhouse gases and climate in the past. High-resolution records from Antarctic ice cores show that carbon dioxide concentrations increased by 80 to 100 parts per million by volume 600 +/- 400 years after the warming of the last three deglaciations. Despite strongly decreasing temperatures, high carbon dioxide concentrations can be sustained for thousands of years during glaciations; the size of this phase lag is probably connected to the duration of the preceding warm period, which controls the change in land ice coverage and the buildup of the terrestrial biosphere.
Logged
nlm
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1245
View Profile
« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2007, 07:18:43 am »
Ignore

there is no "time lag."  The reason it looks like it on the chart is that temperature marks are measured at different points in time than CO2 marks.

The time lag is noted frequently throughout the literature. The following comes from The National Climatic Data Center. I assume it can be regarded as authoritative. It notes that CO2 increased 600+/-400 years (i.e. 200 to 1000yrs) after the warming. It also notes that high CO2 concentrations can be maintained for thousands of years during glaciations, Meaning that the CO2 is still high after cooling occurs.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/vostokco2.html
Ice Core Records of Atmospheric CO2 Around the Last Three Glacial Terminations
Abstract:
Air trapped in bubbles in polar ice cores constitutes an archive for the reconstruction of the global carbon cycle and the relation between greenhouse gases and climate in the past. High-resolution records from Antarctic ice cores show that carbon dioxide concentrations increased by 80 to 100 parts per million by volume 600 +/- 400 years after the warming of the last three deglaciations. Despite strongly decreasing temperatures, high carbon dioxide concentrations can be sustained for thousands of years during glaciations; the size of this phase lag is probably connected to the duration of the preceding warm period, which controls the change in land ice coverage and the buildup of the terrestrial biosphere.


Water vapor is the main green house gas in our atmosphere - during glacial periods a notable amount is removed from the atmosphere to form ice. Thus the CO2 concentrations become almost meaningless.

Temperature increases do cause CO2 increases - rising temperatures thaw more permafrost and release the soil gasses into the air. This in no way means that CO2 doesn't cause higher temperatures. That's like suggesting that because fire is used to create buring coals that burning coals can not be hot.

Rising temperature produce more CO2 at the same time rising CO2 level increase temperatures. That's why temperatures and CO2 have spiked together at an alarming rate.

CO2 is a green house gas because of its molecular properties. Radation from the sun reaches the Earth at about a wavelength to 10nm, it reflects of the Earth at wave length of about 500nm. 10nm wavelength radiation can pass through CO2, 500nm wave length radiation can not.

Concentrations of CO2 in our atmosphere have increased by over 75% since the industrial revolution. The planet is warming. Artic and glacial ice is melting at a rate that, if sustained, will likey cause disaster. The exact amount that the CO2 man is putting into the atmosphere is effecting that climate change is unknown. We do know that we are adding to the green house gasses in our atmosphere, we do know we are not helping to solve the problem, and we do know that if something doesn't change mother nature is going to change our society for us.

It's great to argue that mans contrubution to global warming is small - that may even be true. But that does nothing to solve the problem of global warming. We still have to live on this planet and so do our children and grandchildren. The arguement that global warming isn't our fault (and the evidence suggests it is partially our fault) so let's do nothing amounts to giving up on future generations.

You are very fast to jump on what ever the latest piece of junk science or misdirection that gets thrown out there (like this little piece about temperature causing CO2 rises so CO2 rises must not cause temperatures rises - even though nothing in the data suggests the 2nd of those two concepts - though GOP members of congress have been throwing it around like it is absolute proof of something). So what would you do David? Kick back and watch the ice melt? I don't mean to be disrespectful here - seriously (I admire a lot of what you post - but you are flat wrong on this, and holding on like a pit bull), what would you do?
« Last Edit: April 06, 2007, 07:21:40 am by nlm »Logged

Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left.
David S
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5257


View Profile
« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2007, 01:49:51 pm »
Ignore

Nim first I appreciate your respectful response. Your last question really gets to the crux of the matter; what should be done? What other people believe in or don't believe in does not matter to me unless those beliefs mean they plan to make  draconian changes to our way of life. Before I agree to that I want to be absolutely certain that the underlying assertions are correct. But for the moment lets skip the questions of whether man-made cO2 is causing the bulk of the warming and whether we are even able to prevent further warming. Let me just temporarily abandon my doubts about anthropogenic warming and discuss only things that might reduce CO2 or warming.

First whatever we do must not send us back to the stone-age. The Global warming crowd always talks about the possible ill effects of using fossil fuels but not the ill effects of not using them. Our society is very heavily dependent on fossil fuels. In my opinion Al Gore's proposal to freeze CO2 emissions and then reduce them by 90% by the year 2050 would stop our economy dead in its tracks and then send it into a downward spiral. That idea I don't agree with.

I also don't agree with Kyoto because its effects would be minimal and because it would be costly.

The one idea Al Gore proposed which intrigues me is the idea of creating a CO2 tax to replace another existing tax. He proposed replacing the employment tax. I might suggest the income tax instead. The idea is that it would be revenue neutral. That would create a very large increase in the price of fossil fuels but on the positive side it would get rid of that miserable income tax.

The CO2 tax would give everyone an incentive to reduce consumption of fossil fuels. Gasoline prices would rise by about $1.50 per gallon which would create an incentive to buy more fuel efficient cars or drive less.  I estimate the cost of electricity generated by coal fired plants would double or triple. That would make wind and solar plants more competitive. And people would have an incentive to use less electricity. Natural gas prices would rise too but I don't know by how much.

All that would require no government coercion and no goofy credit trading schemes and would be somewhat of a market oriented plan.

Other people have proposed means of cooling the earth without changing cO2 levels, mainly by various plans to reflect more of the sun's light away from earth. The proponents of those plans say they could be done at much lower cost. And those plans could reduce the earth's temp even if CO2 is not causing warming. Those ideas could also be investigated and implemented if they are in fact  economical solutions.
Logged
nlm
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1245
View Profile
« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2007, 06:25:05 am »
Ignore

What can be done is the only question that really matters. To answer that fully a series of other questions need to be asked and answered - one of those being what is mans contribution to global warming.

But as time tick away that's going to become less and less of an important question because natural increases in temperature are self reinforcing. The amount of CO2 and other green house gasses put into our atmosphere increase naturally as permafrost melts, this increases temperature and as such increases the amount of permafrost that is melting. Our permafrost is already melting at an alarming rate. Surface ice reflects solar radiation back at a low enough wavelength that it can re-emit into space through green house gasses. Solar radiation re-emitting off the balance of the planet increases its wavelength to the point that it can not pass through green house gasses. As surface ice melts, more and more radiation is trapped by green house gasses - which cause temperatures to rise and melts more surface ice. Our surface ice is already melting at an alarming rate, and the current sub glacial water flows indicate that it's going to get much worse in the relatively near future.

As these and other natural causes of global warming spike - what mankind does or fails to do will become less and less meaningful. We are on the clock - the problem is that we don't know how much time is left on the clock, if any.

Neither of us wants to see our society reduced back to the Stone Age - nobody does. Global warming itself has the potential to do that. The challenge is finding a cure that will not do the same - but there isn't going to be a cure that doesn't demand some sacrifice. It's also important to recognize that a cure may be beyond us - but I put a great deal of faith in our abilities as a species if we bend our will towards solving a problem.

There is no doubt in my mind that we need to put together some kind of serious opening salvo to the problem - start showing a political will to do something. China announced this morning that they would participate in the next round of Kyoto talks. The US needs to start having a serious dialogue without the junk science being thrown in. The misrepresentations being made in our own Congress and Senate are beyond the pale. There are still Senators claiming - as our permafrost’s melts away - that there in no warming trend, there are Congressmen using junk science (like that bit about temperature rises causing CO2 rises to conclude that CO2 rises don't cause temperature rises) to defend against taking any action.

The US needs to look at our fossil fuel consumption from a lot of different direction - global warming is just one of those directions. Certainly a 90% decrease in CO2 emissions by 2050 seems overly sharp if new technology isn't put in place to offset that. But there are a host of alternate ideas out there - from carbon scrubbing (which most likely can not be implemented in a time frame in which it would be useful) to alternate re-remittance of solar radiation.

Not increasing the amount of CO2 we put into the atmosphere seems like the first step we need to take. That may buy us some time to figure out how to deal with other causes of global warming that nature is propagating with or without our help.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2007, 06:39:55 am by nlm »Logged

Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left.
IDS Judicial Overlord John Dibble
John Dibble
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 18788
Japan


View Profile
« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2007, 09:12:44 am »
Ignore

But as time tick away that's going to become less and less of an important question because natural increases in temperature are self reinforcing. The amount of CO2 and other green house gasses put into our atmosphere increase naturally as permafrost melts, this increases temperature and as such increases the amount of permafrost that is melting. Our permafrost is already melting at an alarming rate. Surface ice reflects solar radiation back at a low enough wavelength that it can re-emit into space through green house gasses. Solar radiation re-emitting off the balance of the planet increases its wavelength to the point that it can not pass through green house gasses. As surface ice melts, more and more radiation is trapped by green house gasses - which cause temperatures to rise and melts more surface ice. Our surface ice is already melting at an alarming rate, and the current sub glacial water flows indicate that it's going to get much worse in the relatively near future.

The natural increases are only self-reinforcing to a point, otherwise the Earth would have burned to a crisp long before humans even came about. In fact during the Cretaceous period (91 million years ago give or take) the average surface temperature of the planet is speculated to be about ten degrees Celsius higher than it is now. It peaked at that and then gradually declined.

Here's a rough graph of Earth's speculated climate history:



To give an example of one mechanism that stops the reinforcement of heat buildup we need only look at the 'great conveyor built'.



According to theory, as the salinity of the ocean decreases the power driving this thing will decrease. The result of that the currents will change - for instance the current going around Iceland would lower to the point that it's not longer going around Iceland. Enough salinity decrease might even shut it down entirely. Salinity decreases through the introduction of fresh water - since ice contains no salt, melted ice is freshwater! The end result of all this would be a cooling effect, perhaps even an ice age. (just to note, IIRC this what the disaster in 'The Day After Tommorow' is based on, but that movie is utter junk as the theory prescribes the change would be gradual, occuring over many decades)

Long story short, warming can actually result in eventual cooling.

Quote
As these and other natural causes of global warming spike - what mankind does or fails to do will become less and less meaningful. We are on the clock - the problem is that we don't know how much time is left on the clock, if any.

Neither of us wants to see our society reduced back to the Stone Age - nobody does. Global warming itself has the potential to do that. The challenge is finding a cure that will not do the same - but there isn't going to be a cure that doesn't demand some sacrifice. It's also important to recognize that a cure may be beyond us - but I put a great deal of faith in our abilities as a species if we bend our will towards solving a problem.

Given Earth's climate history I don't think we'll be able to stop global warming. At most we can minimize our effects on the planet, but eventually the Earth's likely to heat up again. Part of the reason we're in a 'cool' period right now is due to the current position of the continents, which determines how the oceans are layed out. We aren't going to stop them from moving, though the hothouse level of warming experienced in eras past isn't likely to occur anytime soon.

Also, given that climate change in general is gradual, I don't see it moving us back into the Stone Age. Life continued to flourish on Earth even during those warm periods, and given human intelligence I don't think adapting will be too much of a problem. On the grand scale of things we might have a few problems, but for it to be that dramatic seems just silly. Given that there are forces beyond our control in this situation I think the best preperations are simply to consider how we should best adapt to the change and less on how to prevent it. I've got no problem with decreasing out impact mind you, but there's a number of mitigating factors in doing that - ecomonics, politics, and all that crud.
Logged

frenger
Bono
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 11697
Portugal


Political Matrix
E: 8.65, S: -4.17

View Profile
« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2007, 10:14:06 am »
Ignore

Thanks for that temperature chart Dibblers.
Here's one chart to complement that:
Logged

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety – by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." – H.L. Mencken



NO, I don't want to go back to Fantasy Elections.
nlm
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1245
View Profile
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2007, 01:46:16 pm »
Ignore



Long story short, warming can actually result in eventual cooling.



That's part of the larger point. The cooling that follows the warming can be very destructive as well. That is, and has been, natures method of dealing with past warming cycles, and it is reasonable to conclude that it will happen again.

The more immediate concern is sea level rise. What happens when a couple of billion Chinamen are looking for a new home - and the like. Current sub glacial water flows indicate that will become a problem for us long before temperature change in North America becomes any sort of issue.

There are a host of concerns that will be felt before any sort of notable temperature change occurs in North America. We are seeing the expansion of arrid regions right now. We are seeing a pattern shift in ocean temperatures already. Disease carrying pests are not being wiped out in some regions by the winters that once did kill of significant portion of the population.

The main concern about the additional CO2 man has placed in the atmosphere is that it may be rapidly accelerating the natural warming cycle - that it will not be as gradual process as has occured when nature is left to its own devises. Given that man has never pumped an additional 27 billion tons a year of CO2 into the atmosphere before, there is no historical model that can be referenced.

The long term concern is what do we (as a civilization) have to go through to get to the other side of both the warming and the cooloing and can we do anything to reverse or mitigate the process. The answer to that is yes - but the cost seems to be beyond us at the moment.
Logged

Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left.
David S
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5257


View Profile
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2007, 03:13:43 pm »
Ignore



Long story short, warming can actually result in eventual cooling.



The more immediate concern is sea level rise. What happens when a couple of billion Chinamen are looking for a new home - and the like.

Nim you're doing a bit of fear mongering.  The UN says sea levels might rise something like 1 or 2 feet. Most of China is well above  sea level. And there aren't a couple billion Chinamen in all of China let alone in low areas that might be affected by a 2' rise.
Logged
nlm
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 1245
View Profile
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2007, 04:34:44 pm »
Ignore



Long story short, warming can actually result in eventual cooling.



The more immediate concern is sea level rise. What happens when a couple of billion Chinamen are looking for a new home - and the like.

Nim you're doing a bit of fear mongering.  The UN says sea levels might rise something like 1 or 2 feet. Most of China is well above  sea level. And there aren't a couple billion Chinamen in all of China let alone in low areas that might be affected by a 2' rise.

No, no. The UN projections are based on current melt rates. They do not account for the possible lose of a major ice sheet. If we lose the Greenland ice sheet or the Lawance ice shelf sea levels will increrase by over 21 feet, if we lose them both sea levels will increase by over 42 feet. I'm not saying we are going to - but the sub glacial water flows beneath both make it an mmediate concern.
Logged

Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left.
Pages: [1] 2 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Logout

Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines