The climate change debate is a distraction

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switters
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The climate change debate is a distraction

Lately there has been a lot of argument on this site about climate change.  I've participated myself, but I won't any longer.  I've come to see it as a waste of time and a distraction from what we really need to be doing.  Here's why.

There seem to be two primary questions in this debate:

  1. Is climate change (CC) / global warming (GW) occurring?
  2. Is climate change / global warming being accelerated by human activity?

However, the following two questions are actually much more important:

  1. If CC/GW isn't occurring, would that affect energy and environmental policy?
  2. If CC/GW isn't occurring, would that change our behavior as individuals?

Almost everyone here agrees that peak oil and resource depletion are real and significant problems that demand immediate action.  Among the necessary responses we could include:

  • Switching to renewable fuels as quickly as possible.
  • Curtailment of per capita and per country energy and resource use.
  • Re-localizing economic activities and food and energy production.
  • Etc.

For the purposes of this argument, let's assume that CC/GW isn't happening and isn't influenced by human activities.  Would that reduce the imperative of doing anything on the list above?

No, it wouldn't.  We would still need to take all of those actions, and many more, in response to peak oil and resource depletion - regardless of whether CC/GW is happening or not.  And, all of the actions listed above will actually reduce GHG emissions and reduce the effects of CC/GW if it is indeed happening and influenced by human activity.

One could argue that CC/GW becomes relevant in the discussion about coal, tar sands and other non-conventional sources of oil.  Those who don't believe in CC/GW may argue that we can safely depend on these resources to fill the supply gap because we don't have to worry about the greenhouse gases their extraction will release into the atmosphere.

However, the truth is that there are many other reasons that extracting large amounts of coal, tar sands and "dirty" oil doesn't make sense.  Coal combusion not only produces sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides that contribute to acid rain and snow, it generates millions of tons of particulates that cause asthma and other respiratory diseases.  The production of oil from tar sands uses immense amounts of water  – currently
349 million cubic metres per year, twice the amount of water used by
the city of Calgary.  Other concerns include land damage, including the substanital degradation in the land's ability to support forestry and farming, pollution of ground water aquifers and disturbance or destruction of countless streams, creeks, fens, and bogs.  What's more, the EROEI for tar sands, heavy oil and lignite coal is dubious, and will continue to decline as the conventional oil used to produce these nonconentionals becomes more expensive.

Therefore, I see no reason to continue the debate on climate change.  It seems to be a distraction from directing energy and attention towards the solutions we desperately need to implement - no matter what the truth turns out to be on CC/GW.

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Ray Hewitt
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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

Yes is it a distraction. As far as energy is concerned, human society will have to adjust according to market realities. Ever since the first biped roamed the earth, man has had to deal with scarcity. It's nothing new or reason to be concerned that this means the end of civilized society.

These doomsday scenarios are embedded in the Bible and their believers have been wrong ever since. And of course there is Thomas Malthus (1834) who wrongly predicted population growth would outsrrip food production. I remember Paul Ehrlich's The End of Affluence, written in 1974 and dead wrong.  Switters and Matrix sound just like them The doomsdayers just never give up. Personally, I think it reflects their own inner insecurities about how markets work.

The beauty of a market economy is that prices act as a rationing signal to all around the world. Rising prices force cutbacks in consumption and provide incentives for entrepreneurs to produce solutions. That's what our future hinges on. Meanwhile, we have a serious economic depression to get through.

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction
hewittr wrote:

Yes is it a distraction. As far as energy is concerned, human society will have to adjust according to market realities.

Hahahahaha!!! Laughing  The market got us INTO THIS MESS......

The beauty of a market economy is that prices act as a rationing signal to all around the world. Rising prices force cutbacks in consumption and provide incentives for entrepreneurs to produce solutions.

I'm amazed you can say that with a straight face (I assume you had one, right?)

OK, now oil is $50.  Is it alright to drive the SUV all over the joint again?  Has anything changed since oil was $147?  Have we found another six Saudi Arabia?   You, of just about everyone else on this site really know how to make my blood boil....!

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Ray Hewitt
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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

It's easy Matrix. I know more about market economics than you.

You treat the market as if it is a single entity when the word is a metaphor for the actions of individuals making countless economic decisions every day. So to blame the market is to blame the human race. I don't think you're a misanthrope, so pay attention to what you are saying. People are limited by their means. The price system forces them to adjust to supply whether they want to or not.

OK, now oil is $50.  Is it alright to drive the SUV all over the joint
again?  Has anything changed since oil was $147?  Have we found another
six Saudi Arabia?   You, of just about everyone else on this site
really know how to make my blood boil....! 

If you could see me laughing.

The SUV is a good example. When prices went up, SUVs went unsold and forced GM and Ford into insolvency. 40 years of regulations since the Arab Embargo couldn't do that.

 

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

Hi. Thanks for the Crash Course Chris, and to all that contribute. I´m in here once a day to check up on the latest. It is a very nice environment, if I can say it like that. You all have a respectful tone and generally very good thoughts and information.

By the way, I saw a piece on CNN yesterday, it was about Carl Hodges and the Seawater Foundation in Mexico.  Very interesting concept about sustainable animal food and plants production, using Sea water. In my country Norway, we have a long tradition in sea farming (salmon). Very good business (predicted to be nr.1 after our oil runs out), but not very sustainable as it needs more fish (different species of fish as part of the food for the salmon) than it produces salmon. If I get him right, he (Carl Hodges) has a concept where he can grow shrimps etc. on land in desert like places near the oceans and releaving the stress on the ocean fisheries. And on the same time produce biodiesel and capture CO2 and give jobs to thousands of people in developing countries.

http://www.seawaterfoundation.org/sea_gallart.html

 

It is not all black. You have had so many great inventors and DOERS, starting with Benjamin Franklin. Why? It´s in your genes, that is why you left Europe in the first place:-)

 

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

Hello, Chris,

New to your site.  I teach economics.  When I cover ecological economics, I make no statements about climate change, mainly because I don't know enough to be any kind of authority (I certainly don't deny it, or question humans' effect on it).  But all of the other threats to the future of sustainable life on earth (in particular human life but lots of other species) do seem to indicate that we need to change our ways significantly.  So, I appreciate your perspective.

 

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/25/climate-change-carbon-emissi\
ons

The planet is now so vandalised that only total energy renewal can save us

It may be too late. But without radical action, we will be the
generation that saved the banks and let the biosphere collapse

George Bush is behaving like a furious defaulter whose home is about to
be repossessed. Smashing the porcelain, ripping the doors off their
hinges, he is determined that there will be nothing worth owning by the
time the bastards kick him out. His midnight regulations, opening
America's wilderness to logging and mining, trashing pollution controls,
tearing up conservation laws, will do almost as much damage in the last
60 days of his presidency as he achieved in the foregoing 3,000.

His backers - among them the nastiest pollutocrats in America - are
calling in their favours. But this last binge of vandalism is also the
Bush presidency reduced to its essentials. Destruction is not an
accidental product of its ideology. Destruction is the ideology.
Neoconservatism is power expressed by showing that you can reduce any
part of the world to rubble.

If it is too late to prevent runaway climate change, the Bush team must
carry much of the blame. His wilful trashing of the Middle Climate - the
interlude of benign temperatures which allowed human civilisation to
flourish - makes the mass murder he engineered in Iraq only the second
of his crimes against humanity. Bush has waged his war on science with
the same obtuse determination with which he has waged his war on terror.

Is it too late? To say so is to make it true. To suggest there is
nothing that can be done is to ensure that nothing is done. But even a
resolute optimist like me finds hope ever harder to summon. A new
summary of the science published since last year's Intergovernmental
Panel report suggests that - almost a century ahead of schedule - the
critical climate processes might have begun.

Just a year ago the Intergovernmental Panel warned that the Arctic's
"late-summer sea ice is projected to disappear almost completely towards
the end of the 21st century ... in some models." But, as the new report
by the Public Interest Research Centre (Pirc) shows, climate scientists
are now predicting the end of late-summer sea ice within three to seven
years. The trajectory of current melting plummets through the graphs
like a meteorite falling to earth.

Forget the sodding polar bears: this is about all of us. As the ice
disappears, the region becomes darker, which means that it absorbs more
heat. A recent paper published in Geophysical Research Letters shows
that the extra warming caused by disappearing sea ice penetrates 1,000
miles inland, covering almost the entire region of continuous
permafrost. Arctic permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the
entire global atmosphere. It remains safe for as long as the ground
stays frozen. But the melting has begun. Methane gushers are now gassing
out of some places with such force that they keep the water open in
Arctic lakes through the winter.

The effects of melting permafrost are not incorporated in any global
climate models. Runaway warming in the Arctic alone could flip the
entire planet into a new climatic state. The Middle Climate could
collapse faster and sooner than the grimmest forecasts proposed.

Barack Obama's speech to the US climate summit last week was an
astonishing development. It shows that, in this respect at least, there
really is a prospect of profound political change in America. But while
he described a workable plan for dealing with the problem perceived by
the Earth Summit of 1992, the measures he proposes are hopelessly out of
date. The science has moved on. The events the Earth Summit and the
Kyoto process were supposed to have prevented are already beginning.
Thanks to the wrecking tactics of Bush the elder, Clinton (and Gore) and
Bush the younger, steady, sensible programmes of the kind that Obama
proposes are now irrelevant. As the Pirc report suggests, the years of
sabotage and procrastination have left us with only one remaining shot:
a crash programme of total energy replacement.

A paper by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research shows that if
we are to give ourselves a roughly even chance of preventing more than
two degrees of warming, global emissions from energy must peak by 2015
and decline by between 6% and 8% per year from 2020 to 2040, leading to
a complete decarbonisation of the global economy soon after 2050. Even
this programme would work only if some optimistic assumptions about the
response of the biosphere hold true. Delivering a high chance of
preventing two degrees of warming would mean cutting global emissions by
more than 8% a year.

Is this possible? Is this acceptable? The Tyndall paper points out that
annual emission cuts greater than 1% have "been associated only with
economic recession or upheaval". When the Soviet Union collapsed,
emissions fell by some 5% a year. But you can answer these questions
only by considering the alternatives. The trajectory both Barack Obama
and Gordon Brown have proposed - an 80% cut by 2050 - means reducing
emissions by an average of 2% a year. This programme, the figures in the
Tyndall paper suggest, is likely to commit the world to at least four or
five degrees of warming, which means the likely collapse of human
civilisation across much of the planet. Is this acceptable?

The costs of a total energy replacement and conservation plan would be
astronomical, the speed improbable. But the governments of the rich
nations have already deployed a scheme like this for another purpose. A
survey by the broadcasting network CNBC suggests that the US federal
government has now spent $4.2 trillion in response to the financial
crisis, more than the total spending on the second world war when
adjusted for inflation. Do we want to be remembered as the generation
that saved the banks and let the biosphere collapse?

This approach is challenged by the American thinker Sharon Astyk. In an
interesting new essay, she points out that replacing the world's energy
infrastructure involves "an enormous front-load of fossil fuels", which
are required to manufacture wind turbines, electric cars, new grid
connections, insulation and all the rest. This could push us past the
climate tipping point. Instead, she proposes, we must ask people "to
make short term, radical sacrifices", cutting our energy consumption by
50%, with little technological assistance, in five years.

There are two problems: the first is that all previous attempts show
that relying on voluntary abstinence does not work. The second is that a
10% annual cut in energy consumption while the infrastructure remains
mostly unchanged means a 10% annual cut in total consumption: a deeper
depression than the modern world has ever experienced. No political
system - even an absolute monarchy - could survive an economic collapse
on this scale.

She is right about the risks of a technological green new deal, but
these are risks we have to take. Astyk's proposals travel far into the
realm of wishful thinking. Even the technological new deal I favour
inhabits the distant margins of possibility.

Can we do it? Search me. Reviewing the new evidence, I have to admit
that we might have left it too late. But there is another question I can
answer more easily. Can we afford not to try? No, we can't.

Damnthematrix's picture
Damnthematrix
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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

In spite of this: let us NOT lift a finger to reduce CO2 emissions
until there is clear, unequivocal scientific PROOF that CO2 is
causing catastrophic, irreversible environmental damage. No sense
being alarmist about it. Be reasonable.

Mike.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/11/081124-acidic-oceans.html

Oceans Ten Times More Acidic Than Thought

National Geographic

2008-11-26

Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may make Earth's
oceans more acidic faster than previously thought, unbalancing
ecosystems in the process, a new study says.

Since 2000, scientists have measured the acidity of seawater around
Tatoosh Island off the coast of Washington state. The acidity
increased ten times quicker than climate models predicted.

The research also revealed the corrosive effect of acidic oceans could
trigger a dramatic shift in coastal species and jeopardize shellfish
stocks.

"The increase in acidity we saw during our study was about the same
magnitude as we expect over the course of the next century," said
study co-author Timothy Wootton, a marine biologist from the
University of Chicago.

"This raises a warning flag that the oceans may be changing faster
than people think," he said.

Increased carbon dioxide emissions from human activities have led to a
30 percent rise in ocean acidity in the past 200 years.

(Related: "Acid Oceans Threatening Marine Food Chain, Experts Warn"
[February 17, 2007].)

When atmospheric carbon dioxide dissolves in the oceans it forms
carbonic acid, which in turn has a negative impact on marine life.

Laboratory studies show that as seawater acidity increases, the
calcium carbonate shells and skeletons of many marine species, such as
hard corals, sea urchins, and stony seaweeds, begin to corrode.

A Shifting Balance

Wootton and colleagues built models of an ecosystem based on field
data of how species interact along Tatoosh Island's rocky shores.

Surprisingly, in a scenario of increasing acidity, not all species
with calcium carbonate shells faired badly.

Instead, a shift took place: Larger mussels and barnacles suffered,
leaving smaller barnacles and some calcium-based seaweeds better off.

In nature, "species are competing for space, they are eating each
other, it's an incredibly dynamic system," said James Forester, a
Harvard University ecologist who co-authored the study in this week's
journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"When you change the playing field, in this case by altering
acidity, you can get unexpected responses," he said.

"Mussels usually dominate the ecosystem because they are good at
overgrowing and crushing out other species that grow on the rocks,"
said co-author Wootton.

"But when the mussels decline, it means other speciesâ€"no matter
whether or not they have a shellâ€"can do better," he said.

Nancy Knowlton is a marine biology professor at the Scripps
Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, who was not
involved in the study.

She pointed out the importance of adopting this "enemy of my enemy is
my friend" approach when trying to understand how various shelled
species respond to ocean acidification.

An acidity-driven shift in coastal ecosystems could spell disaster for
shellfish industries that rely on mussels and other similar species,
Wootton warned.

A Wider Pattern?

While the field surveys did show an overall decline in mussels, the
predictive models were needed to hunt for longer-term changes.

"There is inertia in the system because many of these species live for
a long time," said co-author Wooton.

"The little changes we see in the dynamics of the ecosystem may
magnify over time."

These are the first data on ocean acidity from temperate, rather than
tropical waters. No one knows whether similar rapid changes are taking
place elsewhere.

"The rules might be quite different on Tatoosh Island," Wootton suggested.

"There could be mechanisms going on in the waters around our island
that are unique.

"We really need to get more data from other sites away from the
equator to see what patterns are there," he added.

Marine biologist Knowlton said, "This is typical of so many climate
studiesâ€"almost without exception things are turning out to be worse
than we originally thought."

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

One side of me feels sorry for the hole we might be digging ourselves in to, it may well be called ignorance. However the other side has an understanding that balances out to a conclusion worth pondering over.

The world is trapped inside what effectively is a big bubble. The amount of sea water present today is the exact same amount of water that has been on this planet since its conception trillions of years ago. You will agree with me, the Eco System has supported life on this planet since its very conception. Every chemical compound derived from the Earth has always been here. We have evolved to understand Alchemy at a very basic level. Plastics, Glass, the list is quite extensive. All these compounds can be manipulated in thousands of ways to create most of what we have in the modern world. We burn oil and the by product is mostly carbon dioxide. Co2 seems to be the most threatening of all if you follow the media.

My point is this, I understand how this Eco System works and humanity is not the destructive force at work casing fluctuations in our environment. Every science journal has a theory yet I have not read one plausible document to date. Here is why,

Photosynthesis does what it was created to do, it purifies the air and recycles bio mass. If a single volcano were to erupt it would throw in to the atmosphere more Co2 than we could probably manage with a coal power station in 5 years. Yet by design the ecology of the system addresses the imbalance and corrects this over time.

Without getting in to real detail, I think our problems are being generated from the sun, moon and our shift in relation to the Earth's axis. The axis tilt is 23.5° from vertical according to the history books. I believe that this has been sliding. If it has it explains in more simple terms why the northern hemisphere and polar ice caps are able to melt at such a rapid rate. The moon creates the tidal pull as it spins round the Earth, there are also other forces at work within the mantel of the Earth keeping a balance of perfect geo orbit round the sun. It is this pull that is also helping to keep the north and south magmatic polls in check. Everything is in balance as a natural cycle, yet at the same time the opposing forces are for some reason about to change. It is a phenomenon said to happen every 250,000 years or so, and as there has not been one for almost a million years, we are due one soon according to geologists. However I am in line with this, now I hope you can visualise the ramifications of what might occur in our lifetime. I could keep writing about this subject covering detail after detail. I will leave you to interpret climate change however you would like to. What you must do is be more subjective, the real truth of what is going on around you is far more complex than the short history of the industrial revolution and it’s so called effects on climate change.  

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/nov/10/science.research

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Damnthematrix
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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction
RubberRims wrote:

One side of me feels sorry for the hole we might be digging ourselves in to, it may well be called ignorance. However the other side has an understanding that balances out to a conclusion worth pondering over.

The world is trapped inside what effectively is a big bubble. The amount of sea water present today is the exact same amount of water that has been on this planet since its conception trillions of years ago.

With all due respect, I don't think you have a clue! The Earth is 3.8 billion years old, NOT trillions.... If you are going to argue about this, you could at least get the easy facts right!

THEN, at the Earth's conception, there was NO seawater. None at all. Not one drop!

RubberRims wrote:

You will agree with me, the Eco System has supported life on this planet since its very conception.

Actually, I won't agree at all. Life on Earth only established itself in roughly the last quarter of its existence. Before that, Eath was totaly uninhabitable. It was the early proto-life which slowly, ever so slowly, created all the water, the Oxygen, and made the planet habitable....

RubberRims wrote:

Every chemical compound derived from the Earth has always been here.

That's not true either. There were no hydro carbons UNTIL life on Earth created them.... Back then the atmosphere was probably dominated by CO2.  If there was water here, it would have all been gaseous as the planet was way too hot for water to condense.

RubberRims wrote:

We have evolved to understand Alchemy at a very basic level. Plastics, Glass, the list is quite extensive. All these compounds can be manipulated in thousands of ways to create most of what we have in the modern world. We burn oil and the by product is mostly carbon dioxide. Co2 seems to be the most threatening of all if you follow the media.

My point is this, I understand how this Eco System works and humanity is not the destructive force at work casing fluctuations in our environment. Every science journal has a theory yet I have not read one plausible document to date. Here is why,

I think your understanding is actually severely lacking. And I fear it is because so many people are so ignorant of how the planet evolved, how it functions, that so many so called skeptics abound, who would rather ignore the facts than give up their cushy lifestyle, which is coming to an end regardless.  Denial is not a river in Africa....

RubberRims wrote:

Photosynthesis does what it was created to do, it purifies the air and recycles bio mass.

It does no such thing! Photosynthesis converts solar energy into plant matter.....

RubberRims wrote:

If a single volcano were to erupt it would throw in to the atmosphere more Co2 than we could probably manage with a coal power station in 5 years. Yet by design the ecology of the system addresses the imbalance and corrects this over time.

I doubt that too. In any case, there are thousands of such coal fired power stations. China alone is building over 100 a year! Every year, we emit, globally, over 27 BILLION TONS of CO2...... I'd like to see that come out of a volcano....

RubberRims wrote:

Without getting in to real detail, I think our problems are being generated from the sun, moon and our shift in relation to the Earth's axis.

Give me a break.......!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/nov/10/science.research

That link says NOTHING about the Earth's tilt, and discusses the flipping of the planet's magnetic field... which has NOTHING to do with CO2 emissions.

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

Matrix, while most of your critique of RubberRims is correct, I do have a comment. True, that article has nothing to do with the Earth's tilt, or CO2 emissions. But it's still really interesting, and not necessarily wrong, either. Don't kill the guy over a misnomer.

 

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

 

RubberRims - refer below for something to ponder (the numbers vary from site to site but all typically report numbers for the 'annual' CO2 emissions of all volcanoes to run anywhere from 1/50th to 1/150th of that emitted by humans to date)

Climate myths: Human CO2 emissions are too tiny to matter

Quote:

Measurements of CO2 levels over the past 50 years do not
show any significant rises after eruptions. Total emissions from
volcanoes on land are estimated to average just 0.3 Gt of CO2 each year - about a hundredth of human emissions

While
volcanic emissions are negligible in the short term, over tens of
millions of years they do release massive quantities of CO2.
But they are balanced by the loss of carbon in ocean sediments
subducted under continents through tectonic plate movements.
Ultimately, this carbon will be returned to the atmosphere by volcanoes.

 

Quote:

Objection: One decent-sized volcanic eruption puts more CO2 in the atmosphere than a decade
of human emissions. It's ridiculous to think reducing human CO2 emissions will have any
effect.

Answer: Not only is this false, it couldn't possibly be true
given the CO2 record from any of the dozens of sampling
stations
around the globe. If it were true that individual volcanic
eruptions dominated human emissions and were causing the rise in CO2
concentrations, then these CO2 records would be full of spikes -- one for each
eruption. Instead, such records show a smooth and regular trend.

 

Matrix- I can understand your frustration but (being guilty of this myself) you are letting others control your emotional equilibrium.  To those who will listen, speak - if they do not understand it may be because your words were inadequate or they are not yet at a point where your message can be internalized.  Anger in either case is counterproductive.   I say this with full respect for all you have contributed to this site and in full knowledge of my own shortcomings.   There will be those with whom we can disagree on technical or scientific details and yet still be able to cooperate to meet a common goal... and...there will also be those with whom we will never see eye to eye.  In the case of the latter - it is best to ignore them as long as they don't get in the way.    I look forward to reading many more informative posts from you (switters, and others...)

(Apologizing profusely for being excessively presumptuous)

Daniel

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Damnthematrix
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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

I didn't realise my poat sounded angry.....!

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

I am late to the game on this discussion and if this is covered somewhere else, I would appreciate someone pointing me to the thread, but I have always been curious as to why the Earth's temperature has varied over its lifespan. When I watch a Global Warming report, I never hear any talk about the warming (and cooling) that occurred before man started burning fossil fuels. Heck that occurred before man occurred. 

Any pointers to read are appreciated.

Thx, 

Gak 

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Re: The climate change debate is NOT a distraction
gak wrote:

I am late to the game on this discussion and if this is covered somewhere else, I would appreciate someone pointing me to the thread, but I have always been curious as to why the Earth's temperature has varied over its lifespan. When I watch a Global Warming report, I never hear any talk about the warming (and cooling) that occurred before man started burning fossil fuels. Heck that occurred before man occurred. 

Any pointers to read are appreciated.

Thx, 

Gak 

A really good book to read is "The Weather Makers" by Tim Flannery.  His book is full of data (for the lay person).  The science is very very complicated because it takes A LOT of data, A LOT of very expensive equipment, and A LOT of mathematics.  Basically it all boils down to core samples taken from the earth.  The sometimes microscopic particles collected in various regions of the world (mostly very cold) will give scientist very accurate data regarding the period of year(s) the sample was interacting and involved with in its enviornment.  To give you an example, it would be like drilling a very, very deep hole in an iceberg, taking that core sample to a lab, calculating the years (within the layers of the core sample), finding the particles and/or organic material within those specified layers, and then finally analying the particles and/or comparing them with the other layers (years) to see the progression (and the temp.) of the earths atmosphere/environment.

You should also read: "Collapse" by Jared Diamond.  These two books that I've recommended gives excellent examples as to how we are killing our earth, I mean, ourselves-- all too quickly (as shown in Chris' graphs).

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

Matrix - 'my bad'!

Regarding the original post by switters (who, I see, has been disciplined enough to stay out of this thread once he started it) I can sympathize with the sentiment he is expressing.   If one believes that we have already reached peak fossil fuel extraction rates then it will not matter if we successfully convince everyone that global climate change is occurring through our collective irresponsibility since the actions we must take (and will be forced to take) are same.   

I still think, however that there is some merit for the discussion to continue outside this forum if for no other reason than the fact that people tend to need multiple reasons for taking the right action when such actions require sacrifice today for vague promises of a better tomorrow - people want to believe that tomorrow will be better than today even if they don't make any sacrifices.   And I say that as a died in the wool cynic who expects that collectively we will still do the wrong things (i.e. drastically increase the level of mining for coal, tar sand, and dirty oil with the attendant increase in ecological destruction and pollution levels) all the while arguing that 'this' is necessary to give us the time we need to find and implement less expensive solutions to meet our energy needs.    The cynic in me sees 'Hope' (the one 'solitary good thing at the bottom of Pandora's box'..) as truly the most insidious of all the ills released by Pandora.  It is 'Hope' that tomorrow will be better than today that keeps us collectively from taking the actions today we must take, that blinds us to even the possibility that life for our children and grandchildren will not come close to that which we have enjoyed.   Hope has been imprinted on us deep in our emotional core and only the most persistent of intellectual arguments, scientific facts, and clear visionary projections can breach (for 'some', and only some) this protective shell.

And yet, yet...without 'some' Hope, we will collectively engage in a final orgy of self destruction and it is only Hope that some will listen that keeps us striving to spread a message when far too many choose not to listen.

Daniel

 

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gak
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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

 Thanks.

 I will check them out and get back to you  after I read them (and hopefully have more cogent questions).

 Gak 

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Ray Hewitt
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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

I see insanity still reigns on this global warming issue. Obama is just itching for something new to tax and you fools are playing into his hands. Those hacks on Washington can't even manage a budget and you people think they can manage the weather? Get real. You guys are too easy to scare. The weather will take care of itself, thank you.

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

I'm glad to see the discussion pick up on this thread.  Let it be known for those who haven't seen my other posts here on the site that I believe unequivocably 1) that climate change is occurring, 2) that it has been influenced by human activity,  3) that it is ultimately a more serious problem than any other we're facing, including peak oil and economic collapse, and 4) that it deserves immediate and drastic action.

Nevertheless, the purpose of this post was to demonstrate that the debate over whether climate change is happening and whether it is man made is a distraction because the actions we need to take at this time are the same whether CC is real or not.

There are those who would say that the debate is significant because if climate change isn't real and isn't caused by CO2 emissions, then we can happily produce as much nonconventional oil (tar sands, shale, heavy oil, etc.) and coal as we wish in order to offset the effects of declining crude oil supply.  But, as I mentioned in the first post, there are plenty of economic and environmental reasons not to ramp up production of these dirty fossil fuels that have nothing to do with climate change.

The truth is that there are those that will not believe in climate change no matter what evidence is presented in support of it.  In my opinion it's a waste of time to try to convince these folks, but it may not be fruitless to convince them to take the same action they would have taken if they believed in climate change on the basis of economic, energy, environmental and health concerns.

Polls consistently demonstrate that the majority of people not only believe in climate change and the role of human activity in accelerating its pace, but are very concerned about it.  A recent poll released just a few days ago indicated that even in the midst of the current economic collapse, people still believe that climate change is more important than the economy.  That is highly significant.

 

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction
hewittr wrote:

..you people think they can manage the weather? Get real. You guys are
too easy to scare. The weather will take care of itself, thank you.

I presume you are responding to book recommendation  "The Weather Makers"; if so - did you just 'react' to the title or did you actually do any investigating first?

 

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

Drbarbour

I'm reacting to the whole thread. I wasted too much time on this topic last week. It's not worth anymore of my time. You guys are too religious for me. Climate changes. Get used to it.

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

Thank you for your input and have a nice day.

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction
drbarbour wrote:
hewittr wrote:

..you people think they can manage the weather? Get real. You guys are
too easy to scare. The weather will take care of itself, thank you.

I presume you are responding to book recommendation  "The Weather Makers"; if so - did you just 'react' to the title or did you actually do any investigating first?

hewittr thinks peak oil, resource depletion, species extinction, melting of the sea ice, pollution of underground aquifers, destruction of fish stocks and every other conceivable problem would be magically resolved if the holy "free market" were simply allowed to reign.  He has provided no explanation for how this would occur, other than by making circular arguments and accusing people of "not understanding free markets", but nevermind that.

This is a quintessential "case in point" for my argument in this thread.  hewittr has already made up his mind on climate change and no evidence, scientific data or observations will change that.  Therefore I believe it's a waste of time to argue with him about it, especially when - as I've pointed out - the actions we should take in either case are no different.

Happily, as I pointed out in my last post, for every one person like hewittr there are probably a thousand people (if not more) who believe that climate change is real and are genuinely concerned about it.  So don't worry about it hewittr. 

hewittr is the one that needs to be worried, and he is. 

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

Can someone point me to the thread where this was discussed? I dont want to waste anyones time asking questions if my questions have already been asked and answered.

 BTW, I am downloading the audio book The weather makers and will start listening to it tonight.

Thanks 

Gak 

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

Switters

I just got done saying: "climate changes; get used to it." I hope it does continue to warm. Because I hate the cold. I tried explaining how markets resolve the resource issues, but that was a waste of time too. What worries me is that people like you, Matrix and Steve might have your sights on a government solution when that can only make matters worse. 

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

Gak,

If you want to review past discussions on this topic I recommend entering "climate change" in the Search: box at the top of this page.  It has obviously been a 'hot' topic and you will get a lot of hits - to narrow it down you might try searching with: "climate change", switters, hewittr

Daniel ( - not - 'Steve' )

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

Thx.

 

I had done that and received 80 separate threads. I was hoping their was one that I could focus on w/o all the digging. But no prb. I will take a look see when I can.

 

Thx

Gak

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

Before you all think I am a crackpot I would like you to look at the following three sites. Then come to a conclusion. Is Co2 the distraction?

http://www.divulgence.net/ 

http://www.gcrio.org/ipcc/ar4/wg1/faq/ar4wg1faq-6-1.pdf

http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2008/nov/HQ_M08-230_Carbon_seminar.html 

Yes, it's common knowledge. The most respected scientific journals say that we're in this shift. And even though we don't know precisely what that means, it's significant that it is being acknowledged. 

I just wanted to throw this in for effect. My students love YouTube, so I leave you with some inspiration

Hi Damnthematrix, I am glad you thought most of my writing was outside of the STD text book interpretation.  I would like to stand by one point I mentioned firmly. This was about the world being over a trillion years old. Carbon dating and time has no fundamental accuracy at all. I hope you can differentiate and understand the difference between universal time and Earth time. I tell my students some truths about history and science. It is a simple fact, that the books are cooked. I use this as an English accounting term used to describe cash flow.

I hope you found my opinions interesting, a good debate helps to keep an open mind.

 

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction
switters wrote:

Happily, as I pointed out in my last post, for every one person like hewittr there are probably a thousand people (if not more) who believe that climate change is real and are genuinely concerned about it. So don't worry about it hewittr.

hewittr is the one that needs to be worried, and he is.

The problem I have switters (and you know we see eye to eye on this issue) is that I fear we in the first world, who can PAY for vitually anything we like, will convert coal to oil, and buld more nukes, and exploit tar sands, because we will refuse to abandon effluence until the last minute as TSHTF in overdrive.....

The economy might be tanking right now, but the reality remains that maybe half the population will not be affected for quite some time yet...  they're the ones who will say "stuff this, I can pay..! so why should I do without?" 

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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction

RubberRims,

Please tell me that your are not a teacher in the U.S.of A.  We have enough people here who 'firmly stand by their belief that the world is less than 6000 years old.    It is good to occasionally question the source of information you teach (and better yet to teach methodologies for separating provable assertions from unprovable faith (or 'gut based' statements) but I believe it to be harmful to leave students with a belief that they cannot believe anything they are taught. 

Lets take your first link: http://www.divulgence.net/  in which it is claimed that the Earth's Axis tilt increased from 23.5 degrees to 49.5 degrees sometime in December 2006.  The site contains a lot of details that scream out to me that it is an April Fool's joke - but there is enough 'detail' to lend it an air of authority (as any good hoax should).  If I were a science teacher and a student brought this to me I would use it as an education tool and have my students break it down, make predictions based on its content, and then check those predictions against verifiable/repeatable measurements:

I'll give a few hints: 

What should the maximum altitude (angle above the horizon) of the sun be for your locatle at this time of year? (there are charts - you should be able to find some in your library that were printed prior to Dec. 2006 if you don't trust on-line information (however, there are measureable cross checks for that as well):  For London (just guessing) on this date,  the following table applies:(from http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/AltAz.php)

W  0 05, N51 32
Altitude and Azimuth of the Sun                                              
Nov 28, 2008                                                                 
Universal Time
Altitude    Azimuth                                                
(E of N)
h  m         o           o                                                  
06:20     -11.9       109.5
06:40       -9.0      113.2
07:00       -6.2      117.0
07:20       -3.4      120.8
07:40       -0.8      124.6
08:00        2.0      128.6
08:20        4.2      132.6
11:20       16.8      173.1
11:40       17.1      178.0
12:00       17.1      182.8
12:20       16.8      187.7
15:20        3.8      228.1
15:40        1.6      232.1
16:00       -1.3      236.0

Testable elements of this chart: Sunrise/Sunset/ and peak altitude of the sun.   
My question to you would be - does this look 'right'? how can you test it as being right?

What would be the right maximum altitude if the tilt was 0 degrees?
(Ans: 90 - Latitude = 90 - 51.53 (for London) + 0 degrees) = 38.47 degrees

When the axial tilt is non-zero you must accomodate the fact that the Axial Tilt Adjustment term is Negative (making the sun lower in the sky) on the First Day of Winter and and Positive (making the sun 'higher in the sky)  on the first day of Summer.  On (or near) the Spring and Autumnal Equinox the Axial Tilt Adjustment will be zero.  Since we are closing in on the first day of winter (about 3 weeks from now) then lets just jump straight to using the full Negative Axial Tilt Adjustment:

First - lets go with the premise that the tilt HAS increased (thats our 'hypothesis' for now - lets see if the prediction based on this hypothesis matches actual measurements

Hypothesis: Axial Tilt = 49.5 degrees:

Expected Maximum Solar Altitude = 90 - 51.53 - 49.5 = -11.03 degrees (woah!)
This answer is saying the sun won't even get above the horizon! (You can't keep this kind of thing a secret)

Now: lets go with the standard textbook number of 23.5 degrees:

Hypothesis: Axial Tilt = 23.5 degrees:

Expected Maximum Solar Altitude = 90 - 51.53 - 23.5 = 14.97 degrees:
Hmmm - this seems much closer to today's solar altitude (in the above table) of 17.1 degrees.
Conclusion: The Hypothesis that the Axial Tilt was 49.5 degrees failed to substantiated by actual measurements


Query for Students: Why did we expect 14.97 degrees but the table (and our measurements if we went outside and used a sextant - or even a stick and ruler and some trigonometry) shows 17.1 degrees?  (Answer - because it is not yet the first day of winter - we 'should' see the altitude of the sun decrease from 17.1 to 14.97 between today and then) Conclusion? Our measurements were unable to dispute the validity of the hypothesis that the Axial Tilt is still 23.5 degrees .


Other factors of this site (including the direction of rotation shown in the pictorial which would have the sun rise in the west and set in the east) are just plain wrong as well.  

Given the egregious issues in axial tilt site - I won't spend any more time looking at the others.  As a final statement - it is important to be able to understand the provenance of facts, but while there is a lot of shear bunk on the net (and some in testbooks as well) there is also a lot of verifiable information.  Not everything is 'cooked' to meet some corporate or government propoganda objective.

Daniel

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srbarbour
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Re: The climate change debate is a distraction
Quote:

The economy might be tanking right now, but the reality remains that
maybe half the population will not be affected for quite some time
yet...  they're the ones who will say "stuff this, I can pay..! so why
should I do without?"

And that, Damnthematrix, is why they invented taxes and then later a progressive income tax.  Its also why we have laws and government. Cool

 

So, at least you can rest easy knowing that hewittr, no matter how much he complains, will eventually be forced to be part of the solution.   Now, if only we didn't have to listen to them whine about it.

--

Steve 

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