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lordhelmet
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Global warming is one of those issues that is considered a "fact" by most people. Yet, what real evidence has proven that man is really changing the climate of the earth beyond it's normal fluctuations? 10,000 years ago, a mere snapshot in our planet's history, we were in an ice age. The planet warmed to its current state without any help at all from "mankind".

A good essay on this topic was written by the writer Michael Crichton. The link to it is here: http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/GW-Aliens-Crichton.html

The questions for debate are:

Is the phenemena known as 'global warming' the result of man or is man's impact of far less importance than the normal dynamics of the planet?
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Amlord

Re-opened...

Julian
Is the phenomenon known as 'global warming' the result of man or is man's impact of far less importance than the normal dynamics of the planet?

It's too early to say. Without a control planet without man-made "greenhouse gas" emissions but with all other factors equal, will will not be able to say which is true with certainty.

However, there is a thought experiment that covers the options.

The first two scenarios assume that the real global warming (that is happening*) is not man-made, and the second pair assume that it is.

* It is interesting to note that nobody now seriously disputes that global warming is happening at all. Since the theory was first posited, most of it's opponents concentrated on denying it's existence. As they now seem to have accepted that they were wrong and it really is happening, and admitted that the doomsayers were right about the effects (if not yet agreeing with the cause), I think we can afford to be at least as sceptical about the "it's a natural phenomenon" crowd as they are about the tree-huggers.
  1. Global warming is a natural phenomenon that is outside man's control. Whatever happens will happen anyway, so we do nothing to prevent it, simply mitigating the effects of each environmental catastrophe as best we can, while burning as much oil, coal and gas as we can dig out of the ground. The planet becomes quite different, there are mass extinctions, conceivably including our one of more of main food species and possibly even ourselves. We carry on as best we can, adapting where we can. Eventually fossil fuels run out altogether, and if we survive we find another way of fuelling our progress. In the very long term the planet may cool again, perhaps even to the point of an ice age, and we'll have to deal with that in much the same way when it comes. RESULT = We carry on having fun now and still LOSE later.
  2. Global warming is a natural phenomenon that is outside man's control, but we try and cut our greenhouse emissions dramatically because that's what we think is the cause. We hurt our economies badly for several decades, mitigating the effects of each environmental catastrophe as best we can. The planet still becomes quite different, there are mass extinctions, conceivably including our one of more of main food species and possibly even ourselves. We carry on as best we can, adapting where we can. In the very long term the planet may cool again, perhaps even to the point of an ice age, and we'll have to deal with that in much the same way when it comes. This time, tough, we'll know it isn't our fault and won't feel guilty about knowing we could have prevented it, or about ignoring doomsayers. RESULT = We deny ourselves some fun now and still LOSE later.
  3. Global warming is a man-made phenomenon, but whatever happens will happen anyway, so we do nothing to prevent it, simply mitigating the effects of each environmental catastrophe as best we can, while burning as much oil, coal and gas as we can dig out of the ground. The planet becomes quite different, there are mass extinctions, conceivably including our one of more of main food species and possibly even ourselves. We carry on as best we can, adapting where we can. Eventually fossil fuels run out altogether, and if we survive we find another way of fuelling our progress. In the very long term the planet may cool again, perhaps even to the point of an ice age, and we'll have to deal with that in much the same way when it comes. RESULT = We carry on having fun now and still LOSE later. (But rather sooner than in scenario 1)
  4. Global warming is a man-made phenomenon, and we try and cut our greenhouse emissions dramatically because that's what we think is the cause. We hurt our economies badly for several decades, mitigating the effects of each environmental catastrophe that is already set in train as best we can. However, after maybe as much as a century of discomfort, it becomes clear that the world is beginning to cool again and return to "normal". We cause a great deal of damage to our natural environment, and lose many species forever, but step back from the brink of total disaster. We finally learn that our actions always have unforeseen consequences and we are careful to think rather harder about what we do in future. RESULT = We deny ourselves some fun now and stand a good chance of WINNING later.


This is the flip answer - of the possible worst-case scenarios, only one gives us the possibility of continued and relatively untroubled survival, and it involves behaving as if global warming is anthropogenic.

We may still lose, of course - for all we know the environmental change we've seen so far is the result of the first ten days of the industrial revolution, and the billions of car exhausts and thousands of power stations across the world may not take full effect for another 300 years. In which case we're hip deep in the slurry and arguing over what shoes to wear.

But since all the other possible outcomes mean we lose anyway, what (literally) do we as a species have to lose? Answer: The short-term "fun now" of scenarios 1 and 3. Are we young bulls or old bulls? Ants or grasshoppers?

Damage to the Western economy in general and the American economy (the most profligate user of energy) in particular is as nothing compared to potential extinction, isn't it? You may prefer to go out in a blaze of glory, but unless you can find a way to do it without taking the rest of the world with you I suggest you go with the majority.

One other question I have - why are people arguing that the real phenomenon of global warming gives us carte blanche to carry on regardless? Are you so sure that this is a minor blip that we don't have do do anything? Even the shortest of the (naturally occurring) Ice Ages lasted several thousand years - what makes you think that this naturally occurring Hot Age will not last as long? Surely the environmental damage likely to be wrought on our way of life will be as bad whether the cause is our own actions or sunspots/volcanoes/cosmic death rays/whatever?

Everything I've seen from the tree-huggers (and I'm not talking about Kyoto here) says that at least half the economic costs of global warming come from dealing with the damaging effects of the warming that is already happening and shows no signs of slowing down. That warming will happen, and therefore those costs will be necessary, whether GW is anthropogenic or not, right? Yet are the proponents of the natural phenomenon argument saying we need to start radically restructuring our economies and way of life to cope with the warming that they all (now) agree is coming? Er, no, they aren't.
logophage
Is the phenomena known as 'global warming' the result of man or is man's impact of far less importance than the normal dynamics of the planet?

Julian, that was extremely well stated. Whether or not global warming is anthropogenic is somewhat immaterial. What is clear is that we are in for a "bumpy ride" in the near future. Simply put: more energy is being introduced into the system. That energy will express itself as severe weather events: expect more category 5 hurricanes, expect extreme rainfall and flooding, expect droughts. The impact of global warming will likely devastate certain regions of the US and of the world.

It is in our best interest to mitigate the effects of global warming whether or not humans are the ultimate cause. Burning fossil fuels have a known greenhouse effect. Even if fossil fuels are not the main component of global warming, they are not an insignificant factor. Thus, policies and technologies to curtail fossil fuel consumption make sense.

The proposition that we shouldn't do anything because it's a natural event is fallacious. Using this reasoning would imply that folks with type I diabetes shouldn't get insulin shots (since this is "natural"). It would also imply that we shouldn't have flood control along major rivers (since flooding is "natural"). There are all sorts of things that are "natural" which humans have engineered around. Global warming is no different in that respect. I have read some interesting proposals to sequester CO2 gas in the ocean. Ideas like this are what we need to consider to address global warming.
Amlord
Julian,

I think your conclusions are faulty because your premise is faulty.

You seem to conclude that because we don't know the impact of humans on the global climate, we should do something about it. That the uncertainty means we should act, rather than the opposite, even if we cannot determine if our actions will have an impact or not.

But what if global warming is a myth. What if doing nothing brings us no harm? What if, by doing something, we harm ourselves in the short term and bring no benefits whatsoever in the long term?

What we should do is determine what impact we are having. We need more concrete evidence. We need scientists that will (or are allowed to) interpret the data without bias. We need to allow (as the original article suggests) scientists to be skeptics without being ridiculed.

QUOTE
But it is impossible to ignore how closely the history of global warming
fits on the previous template for nuclear winter. Just as the earliest
studies of nuclear winter stated that the uncertainties were so great that
probabilities could never be known, so, too the first pronouncements on
global warming argued strong limits on what could be determined with
certainty about climate change. The 1995 IPCC draft report said, "Any claims
of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain
controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the
climate system are reduced." It also said, "No study to date has positively
attributed all or part of observed climate changes to anthropogenic causes."
Those statements were removed, and in their place appeared: "The balance of
evidence suggests a discernable human influence on climate."

What is clear, however, is that on this issue, science and policy have
become inextricably mixed to the point where it will be difficult, if not
impossible, to separate them out. It is possible for an outside observer to
ask serious questions about the conduct of investigations into global
warming, such as whether we are taking appropriate steps to improve the
quality of our observational data records, whether we are systematically
obtaining the information that will clarify existing uncertainties, whether
we have any organized disinterested mechanism to direct research in this
contentious area.



We need to find out the truth before we make a bad decision. Either choice could result in very bad things happening (either acting, or not acting). We need more data.

QUOTE(logophage)
Is the phenomena known as 'global warming' the result of man or is man's impact of far less importance than the normal dynamics of the planet?
Julian, that was extremely well stated. Whether or not global warming is anthropogenic is somewhat immaterial. What is clear is that we are in for a "bumpy ride" in the near future. Simply put: more energy is being introduced into the system. That energy will express itself as severe weather events: expect more category 5 hurricanes, expect extreme rainfall and flooding, expect droughts. The impact of global warming will likely devastate certain regions of the US and of the world.

It is in our best interest to mitigate the effects of global warming whether or not humans are the ultimate cause. Burning fossil fuels have a known greenhouse effect. Even if fossil fuels are not the main component of global warming, they are not an insignificant factor. Thus, policies and technologies to curtail fossil fuel consumption make sense.

The proposition that we shouldn't do anything because it's a natural event is fallacious. Using this reasoning would imply that folks with type I diabetes shouldn't get insulin shots (since this is "natural"). It would also imply that we shouldn't have flood control along major rivers (since flooding is "natural"). There are all sorts of things that are "natural" which humans have engineered around. Global warming is no different in that respect. I have read some interesting proposals to sequester CO2 gas in the ocean. Ideas like this are what we need to consider to address global warming.


logo, do you have any specific examples? Do you have any evidence that "The impact of global warming will likely devastate certain regions of the US and of the world"? The article showed how similar projections were made over the Kuwaiti oil fires and similar projections of millions dying of starvation have not come to pass. Consensus is not science. Show me the data.

Again, my position is that we do not have enough information. We should study this more.
logophage
QUOTE(Amlord @ Jan 14 2005, 01:38 PM)
logo, do you have any specific examples?  Do you have any evidence that "The impact of global warming will likely devastate certain regions of the US and of the world"?

I think I can make a deductive argument without citing specific instances.

1. Category 5 hurricanes cause massive devastation when they hit populated areas.
2. Adding more energy into the atmosphere increases the likelihood of category 5 hurricanes.
3. Thus, adding more energy into the atmosphere increases the likelihood of devastation in populated areas.
4. Global warming (whether man-made or natural) reflects that more energy is being introduced into the atmosphere.
5. Thus, global warming increases the likelihood of devastation in populated areas.

QUOTE
The article showed how similar projections were made over the Kuwaiti oil fires and similar projections of millions dying of starvation have not come to pass.  Consensus is not science.  Show me the data.

So, you're concluding that one set of incorrect predictions must mean that all predictions are incorrect? This just does not logically follow. Atmospheric predictions are an inexact science. You can say things about trends in a statistical sense; it's very difficult to say things about specific instances. Just ask your local meteorologist.

I agree though that consensus does not necessarily good science make. Consensus just demonstrates that a large number of people agree with the conclusions being proposed. They could be wrong; they could have been hoodwinked or just plain lazy. Having a debate on the subject of global warming is necessary and good. This is indeed what's being going in the community for many, many years. After years of debate, the community (including many skeptics) have been won over. So, while consensus does not indicate the science is good, it also does not indicate the science is bad. In other words, consensus is an effect and not a cause. To use consensus as the basis of one's position on global warming is to commit a post hoc fallacy.

QUOTE
Again, my position is that we do not have enough information.  We should study this more.
*

I absolutely agree that we should study this more. For something which can have potentially huge economic impact, it's in our best interest to give this topic the funding it needs. However, there are things which we know now with a high degree of confidence. Given that the risk is large (due to its potential effects), it is worth "hedging our bets" by addressing the issues brought up by global warming.
Hobbes
QUOTE(logophage @ Jan 14 2005, 01:36 PM)
Is the phenomena known as 'global warming' the result of man or is man's impact of far less importance than the normal dynamics of the planet?

It would also imply that we shouldn't have flood control along major rivers (since flooding is "natural").  There are all sorts of things that are "natural" which humans have engineered around.  Global warming is no different in that respect.  I have read some interesting proposals to sequester CO2 gas in the ocean.  Ideas like this are what we need to consider to address global warming.
*



A very interesting analogy, as I think a good case could be made for not institituting flood control along major rivers. That being that one of the main things that flood barriers do is make the floods worse somewhere else--something that we as humans seem to have a knack for when we try to mess with mother nature. Certainly something to consider if we were to try to do something as massive as change the air (ie, steps to actually correct the problem, vs. simply reducing the emissions that are contributing to it).

Also, (I have searched in vain for the link to this)...Charleton Heston some years ago recited a poem about man and the environment that I think did an excellent job of properly focusing these types of issues. That being that we are not harming the earth with this type of phenomenon...global warming will have little impact on the earth as a whole. However, there are a variety of environmental issues that, while not affecting the earth as a whole, can have a significant impact on Man's ability to inhabit earth. Global warming is one of these issues...it should be evaluated not in its impact on the environment...but on the effects that impact will have on us. For example....what does it matter to the earth if sea level rises 20'? No effect whatsoever, in the macro sense. However, that would put the living area of a significant percentage of the global human population under water....small impact on earth, huge impact on Man.
logophage
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Jan 14 2005, 02:37 PM)
QUOTE(logophage @ Jan 14 2005, 01:36 PM)
Is the phenomena known as 'global warming' the result of man or is man's impact of far less importance than the normal dynamics of the planet?

It would also imply that we shouldn't have flood control along major rivers (since flooding is "natural").  There are all sorts of things that are "natural" which humans have engineered around.  Global warming is no different in that respect.  I have read some interesting proposals to sequester CO2 gas in the ocean.  Ideas like this are what we need to consider to address global warming.
*



A very interesting analogy, as I think a good case could be made for not institituting flood control along major rivers. That being that one of the main things that flood barriers do is make the floods worse somewhere else--something that we as humans seem to have a knack for when we try to mess with mother nature. Certainly something to consider if we were to try to do something as massive as change the air (ie, steps to actually correct the problem, vs. simply reducing the emissions that are contributing to it).

Actually, I chose that analogy specifically because it has had negative consequences (as well as positive ones). I agree that taking action without working through the consequences of the action would be poor engineering. Of course, the history of human endeavors is filled with those types of stories. The first step is to curtail what we know adds a non-trivial amount energy into the system, that is, greenhouse gases.

QUOTE
Also, (I have searched in vain for the link to this)...Charleton Heston some years ago recited a poem about man and the environment that I think did an excellent job of properly focusing these types of issues.  That being that we are not harming the earth with this type of phenomenon...global warming will have little impact on the earth as a whole.  However, there are a variety of environmental issues that, while not affecting the earth as a whole, can have a significant impact on Man's ability to inhabit earth.  Global warming is one of these issues...it should be evaluated not in its impact on the environment...but on the effects that impact will have on us.  For example....what does it matter to the earth if sea level rises 20'?  No effect whatsoever, in the macro sense.  However, that would put the living area of a significant percentage of the global human population under water....small impact on earth, huge impact on Man.
*

Agreed. I don't think an ethical statement about ecology as it exists on Earth currently is particularly persuasive. I do think that an ethical statement as to the economic impact of climate change is persuasive. Though, of course, think of all the new jobs that would be created after a category 5 hurricane destroys an entire city. Hmm...maybe, global warming is good wink.gif...nah.
Mrs. Pigpen
Is the phenemena known as 'global warming' the result of man or is man's impact of far less importance than the normal dynamics of the planet? There is so much conflicting information, it's hard to know for certain. I’ve heard of the Vostok ice core data, which I thought offered definitive proof. Ice cores don't lie. But apparently this isn't true. For example, this chart indicates a clear spike showing the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the start of the industrial revolution. But, this one indicates something entirely different...nearly the opposite, in fact. huh.gif

I think Michael Crichton has it exactly right in his suggestion.
QUOTE
Just as we have established a tradition of double-blinded research to determine drug efficacy, we must institute double-blinded research in other policy areas as well. Certainly the increased use of computer models, such as GCMs, cries out for the separation of those who make the models from those who verify them. The fact is that the present structure of science is entrepreneurial, with individual investigative teams vying for funding from organizations that all too often have a clear stake in the outcome of the research-or appear to, which may be just as bad. This is not healthy for science.

Sooner or later, we must form an independent research institute in this country. It must be funded by industry, by government, and by private philanthropy, both individuals and trusts. The money must be pooled, so that investigators do not know who is paying them. The institute must fund more than one team to do research in a particular area, and the verification of results will be a foregone requirement: teams will know their results will be checked by other groups. In many cases, those who decide how to gather the data will not gather it, and those who gather the data will not analyze it. If we were to address the land temperature records with such rigor, we would be well on our way to an understanding of exactly how much faith we can place in global warming, and therefore with what seriousness we must address this.
Julian
QUOTE(Amlord @ Jan 14 2005, 10:38 PM)
Julian,

I think your conclusions are faulty because your premise is faulty.

You seem to conclude that because we don't know the impact of humans on the global climate, we should do something about it.  That the uncertainty means we should act, rather than the opposite, even if we cannot determine if our actions will have an impact or not.
*


You're right - that's exactly what I conclude, because - assuming the four scenarios that are outlined are the only ones available - only one scenario can possibly result in a happy ending, and that scenario requires dramatic action to shift away from the use of fossil fuels.

QUOTE
But what if global warming is a myth.  What if doing nothing brings us no harm?  What if, by doing something, we harm ourselves in the short term and bring no benefits whatsoever in the long term?


Well, as I mentioned in my last post, most serious opponents of anthropogenic causes for global warming do not now deny that global warming is indeed taking place - a significant change to the 80s and 90s, when almost all of them not only denied that GW was man-made, but they also denied that it was happening at all. There was not enough data to be certain that the climate was warming, they said. It was therefore scaremongering to suggest we should change our lifestyles or economies, they said. Now, all the intellectual elbow grease is going into argument about how the cause is solar activity, marine plankton, volcanoes, cosmic rays etc - anything and everything except the notion that human activity in general and Western capitalist consumption in particular is at fault. Methinks they do protest too much.

Now, though, there IS enough evidence to suggest that global warming is a real phenomenon, not just a theoretical one that has to be extrapolated from questionable data. It is no myth. And, most those who oppose anthropogenesis have already been proven wrong once. That doesn't automatically mean that they are wrong and the tree huggers are right about anthropogenesis, but it has to be taken into account by policymakers when thinking about the issue.

The only hope that remains for the hope that "doing nothing brings us no harm" is, therefore, that the real tangible rise in global average temperatures is a temporary and transient blip. In recorded history, there have been short-term fluctuations in temperature, but on nothing like the scale of what we seem to be seeing now. And in the global context, any change is almost certainly a blip - anything that lasts for much less than tens of millions of years has to be seen that way.

QUOTE
What we should do is determine what impact we are having.  We need more concrete evidence.  We need scientists that will (or are allowed to) interpret the data without bias.  We need to allow (as the original article suggests) scientists to be skeptics without being ridiculed.


I agree, but, and this is the critical point, we don't have the luxury of being able to assume that the change that is already happening will last only a matter of years or decades, rather than centuries or millennia (or aeons). Because if the anthropogenetecists are right, it will take a minimum of another decade to be sure that they are no matter how much more research money we throw at it.

And by then, we may just find that yes, it is our fault, and that the damage we did by carrying on as normal until anthropogenesis is proven, but it's too late to do anything about it.

My case isn't based on the assumption that global warming is man-made. It may not be. Global warming IS happening. There may only be a 1 in 100 chance that it is man-made. In which case we have a 1 in 100 chance of reversing it and continuing something approaching modern civilisation in the long term. We shouldn't miss that chance because it may cause some pain to some people - adoption of alternative technologies and eschewing non-renewable carbon-based fuels is not going to kill anyone; it just means not having quite so much luxury. Compared to the theoretically possible extinction of civilisation and maybe even the species, is that such a high price?
Google
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Julian @ Jan 15 2005, 08:08 AM)
My case isn't based on the assumption that global warming is man-made. It may not be. Global warming IS happening. There may only be a 1 in 100 chance that it is man-made. In which case we have a 1 in 100 chance of reversing it and continuing something approaching modern civilisation in the long term. We shouldn't miss that chance because it may cause some pain to some people - adoption of alternative technologies and eschewing non-renewable carbon-based fuels is not going to kill anyone; it just means not having quite so much luxury. Compared to the theoretically possible extinction of civilisation and maybe even the species, is that such a high price?
*


I think your mind is set in a paradigm that isn't necessarily true. Whether the effects are or are not man-made, they are not necessarily irreversible. Just as the Green revolution and birth control proved Malthus wrong, we will likely eventually come up with cost effective methods for extracting carbon dioxide from the air. It's an inert gas, unlike the CFCs which continued to recycle and destroy the ozone layer. The sea is already a giant buffer zone with algae and vegetation which absorbs tremendous quantities of carbon dioxide (25 million years ago, supposedly, underwater volcanoes spewed out so much carbon dioxide gas it nearly killed off all of the life on the planet).
Julian
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Jan 15 2005, 05:22 PM)
QUOTE(Julian @ Jan 15 2005, 08:08 AM)
My case isn't based on the assumption that global warming is man-made. It may not be. Global warming IS happening. There may only be a 1 in 100 chance that it is man-made. In which case we have a 1 in 100 chance of reversing it and continuing something approaching modern civilisation in the long term. We shouldn't miss that chance because it may cause some pain to some people - adoption of alternative technologies and eschewing non-renewable carbon-based fuels is not going to kill anyone; it just means not having quite so much luxury. Compared to the theoretically possible extinction of civilisation and maybe even the species, is that such a high price?
*


I think your mind is set in a paradigm that isn't necessarily true. Whether the effects are or are not man-made, they are not necessarily irreversible. Just as the Green revolution and birth control proved Malthus wrong, we will likely eventually come up with cost effective methods for extracting carbon dioxide from the air. It's an inert gas, unlike the CFCs which continued to recycle and destroy the ozone layer. The sea is already a giant buffer zone with algae and vegetation which absorbs tremendous quantities of carbon dioxide (25 million years ago, supposedly, underwater volcanoes spewed out so much carbon dioxide gas it nearly killed off all of the life on the planet).
*



Fine - that may well be true, but if it is, it will need to happen on an industrial scale, and so far most of the intellectual effort of anti-man-made people in science and government is going into saying "there's nothing to see here", not into actually doing anything. The big petrochemical and automotive companies who are behind most of the organised opposition to anthropogenesis are demonstrably not investing in research into producing industrial scale CO2-removal factories, unless I missed something. They're exerting their influence to keep consumer demand for ever-larger engines and ever-cheaper gasoline instead.

If your point is true, let's make sure that the momentum to put the fixes in places gets going quickly enough to make a noticeable difference, shall we? Instead of just saying "let somebody else fix it so I can carry on doing what I'm doing", which seems to be most of the argument against anthropogenetic global warming.

And how long is "eventually" anyway? Do London and New York have to be underwater before we decide to do anything constructive, instead of just sticking our fingers in our ears and going "la-la-la I'm not listening"? It's a tangent, but both these cities are at risk from an Atlantic tsunami, yet the devastation wrought in South East Asia has not yet convinced Europe and America to spend one cent on an Atlantic tsunami warning system because there still isn't one and there are no plans to put one in place. Better keep our fingers crossed on that issue as well?

Historically as a species we aren't very good about anticipating and avoiding large-scale problems before they happen. We are rubbish at understanding probability and risk - we play lotteries on the strength of million-to-one chances of winning because "it could be you", yet drive without a seat belt on the strength of much higher probabilities because "it won't happen to me".

Our sceintific and technical abilities have, in the last 50 or 60 years, are just about putting us in a position when we can start to predict, mitigate, and even prevent large-scale events. Yet we continue to whistle in the dark because that's our ingrained habit, and we chave come to see our cosseted modern lives as an entitlement and not a gift or privilege. Sooner or later, if we don't change, an event will come along that we won't be able to learn from and treat differently next time, because we'll all be wiped out after it's too late to fix.

You keep asking me to imagine "what if they're wrong"? I've tried to show that I've considered that - not least in the four scenarios I considered in my openeing post on the thread.

However, my argument is based on "what if they're right" and none of the people arguing against me have yet considered that.

How would you feel if, in say ten years' time, it is proven beyond all possible doubt that global warming is our own fault, that it will wipe out organised civilisation as we understand it within our lifetimes, and the only possible time to fix it was ten years ago (i.e. now)? Kind of like a smoker who'd been told of the risks of cancer but continued to do it anyway, magnified by them smoking gave everyone else they knew or cared about inoperable and terminal cancers as well?

I humbly submit that you'd feel a lot worse in that scenario than in one where we all live austere lives for the next few dacades and found out afterwards that there was no need since what looked like global warming was in fact transient and naturally-occuring.

And it would be little consolation to me to be able to say "I told you so" because we're all still going to either die or, if we're lucky, live nasty brutish and short lives. (Though, being me, I'd say it anyway devil.gif mrsparkle.gif ).
Hobbes
QUOTE(Julian @ Jan 15 2005, 10:53 AM)
You keep asking me to imagine "what if they're wrong"? I've tried to show that I've considered that - not least in the four scenarios I considered in my openeing post on the thread.

However, my argument is based on "what if they're right" and none of the people arguing against me have yet considered that.

How would you feel if, in say ten years' time, it is proven beyond all possible doubt that global warming is our own fault, that it will wipe out organised civilisation as we understand it within our lifetimes, and the only possible time to fix it was ten years ago (i.e. now)? Kind of like a smoker who'd been told of the risks of cancer but continued to do it anyway, magnified by them smoking gave everyone else they knew or cared about inoperable and terminal cancers as well?

I humbly submit that you'd feel a lot worse in that scenario than in one where we all live austere lives for the next few dacades and found out afterwards that there was no need since what looked like global warming was in fact transient and naturally-occuring.

And it would be little consolation to me to be able to say "I told you so" because we're all still going to either die or, if we're lucky, live nasty brutish and short lives. (Though, being me, I'd say it anyway  devil.gif  mrsparkle.gif ).
*



Couple of things I would like to comment on here. First, as Mrs. P pointed out, whether global warming is man-made or not is completely separate from the discussion of whether or not its irreversible. It could be a completely natural phenomenon, yet we could still correct it--the power of technology is essentially unlimited. However, this same power is what leads us down the path Julian is speaking out against...we have yet, as a species, to run into a problem that we couldn't correct tecnologically at the last minute. So, waiting in that scenario doesn't really have a downside. To overcome that, one would need to offer conclusive evidence that either a) it really must be fixed now, or cool.gif it makes financial sense to address it now. I don't see the evidence out there yet to address this. In short, I don't buy into any of the doomsday scenarios...at least not in the next 20-30 years, or even longer. Humans are a fairly adaptable species...it is simply inconceivable to me that the climate of the earth could change drastically enough in that time span to threaten our existence. However, I DO see it possible that even relatively minute changes in the environment could have large impacts on our society (the rising sea level being one such change). So, these things need to be spelled out in terms of their liklihood, what the possible solutions are, and what the cost of those is. Then, prudent, scientifically and economically based decisions could be made.

Finally, I think it important to note that, in general, one would not have to live in relative austerity to solve such problems. There are a wealth of solutions to this problem that could drastically reduce pollution with no real impact on our way of life...they simply cost a little bit more currently. (consider electric cars, or hydrogen powered ones). My take on this is that several hundred years from now, we will be in one of two situations. Either we we continue down this industrial technological path, with industrial technological solutions to environmental problems, or we will switch and become more envirnomentally friendly, and look back at the Industrial revolution somewhat as we might view cave-men today. Currently, I see us headed to the former, although the latter might be the more 'enlightened' path.
SWM28WDC
I have to say i'm in the boat load of people who believe that Global Warming is occuring, and that our actions have some effect on it. I'm not sure of the extent of our effect, but can't see the necessary GOOD of pumping more & more CO2 into the atmosphere. Likewise, I can't see the GOOD of hobbling our (US in particular, world on our backs) economy for no compelling reason.

What I suggest, is three part: Go with the Carbon Tax. Start it very small, with a defined schedule of increases. Such a schedule would allow industry time to plan and alter their processes, as well as for people to change their habits. As a point of reference, consider the carbon tax to be the equivalent of $0.01 per gallon of gas to start, and $0.50 per gallon of gas in 10 years.

While small, it is still a drag on the economy. Returning the tax to the economy should eliminate this problem. The revenue generated by the tax shoud be used to do three things: 1) ~20% (the current percent of federal revenue from corporations) of the revenue should reduce corporate taxes 2) ~40% should be used to reduce individual taxes 3) ~40% should be used to give a universal rebate, sky dividend, or what have you. This is necessary to ensure that the tax is progressive, rebates the tax for the first X tons of carbon a person causes to be emitted, and 'compensates' each citizen for the use of his atmosphere.

Such a tax becomes a de facto subsidy for alternative fuels, DOE programs could be cut, while market-competitive alternative energy programs would still be advantaged. As a note, conservation is probably the most cost-effective 'alternative energy', a well insulated home with an efficient HVAC system can reduce an individuals 'carbon burden' by nearly half.
Hugo
From

The Benefits of Global Warming

Cooler Heads Coalition
March 28, 1999



The Benefits of Global Warming


QUOTE
Several economic studies have attempted to determine the economic costs of a rise in global temperatures. Most have found that global warming will have a significant negative impact. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for example, found that the costs of global warming would range from 1.5 to 2 percent of GDP for the world and about 1 to 2 percent for the U.S. Fred Singer, an atmospheric scientist and president of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, notes that several sectors were not included in the IPCC analysis and that non-market sectors all suffered from negative impacts and much of the time the impacts were greater than in the market sectors. Since no reliable or agreed upon metric to measure non-market impacts exists, those results are little more than an assumption by the IPCC.



A new book, titled The Impact of Climate Change on the United States Economy (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1999) by Robert Mendelsohn at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and James E. Neumann with Industrialized Economics, Inc. finds a different result. Mendelsohn and Neumann assume a doubling of CO2 that would lead to a 2.5 degree C increase in global temperatures. They also include sectors of the economy that were ignored by the IPCC, such as commercial fishing. Other improvements included the possibility of adaptation, reliance on natural climate experiments, in towns with different temperature changes, and so on.



Mendelsohn and Neumann found that overall the economic impact of global warming on the U.S. is positive, about a 0.2 percent increase in GDP


We got people talking about mass extinctions here and economic disasters when there is no consensus that global warming would have a negative economic impact. Global warming would increase agricultural production. Why should we believe we are at the optimum global temperature currently and a rise in temperature will lead to disaster?

In 1974 Time magazine had an article on the coming Ice Age. I'm sure glad we did not spend too much money trying to prevent that upcoming environmental disaster.

Just found this at this site.:

FROM
Newsweek
April 28, 1975 Studies
Facts & Figures
Selected Links
Weather
Health

QUOTE
The Cooling World
   There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production– with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.

   The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually. During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree – a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars' worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.


Later in the same article


QUOTE
Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects. They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.


Fool me once..shame on you. Fool me twice...shame on me. I am personally glad political leaders did not take actions to combat global cooling in the '70's.
sunsettommy
Is the phenemena known as 'global warming' the result of man or is man's impact of far less importance than the normal dynamics of the planet?

I think that with the evidence I have seen so far,that is mostly from NON man made sources.The Sun,The Orbital mechanics and the natural climatic varialbility.These are a more dominant determinant of the climate than anything Mankind has done.

It is true that CO2 levels are on the rise in the Atmosphere,along with lesser "warming gases".However the Global Warming debate has been skewered in favor of the TINY percentage of the "Greenhouse gases".Water Vapor is the Dominant Greenhouse Gas,and a gas that is too often left out of climate models.

The true composition is about like this for Greenhouse gases:

Water Vapor 98%

CO2 .05%

Methane and so on.

http://www.marshall.org/pdf/materials/268.pdf

This is in PDF
sunsettommy
There IS indeed a Worldwide warming going on.

Scroll to near the bottom of the page:

The Satellite Record 1979-2004

The newest and best way to determine global temperature is to use satellites to measure the temperature of the lower atmosphere, giving the Earth a uniform global sweep, oceans included, with no cities to create a false warming bias. This second method, used since January 1979, is accurate to within one hundredth of a degree, and is clearly the best record we have. Here are Global Mean Temperature anomalies of the lower atmosphere for the 25-year period January 1979 to December 2004. It shows a very different picture to that of the global `surface record' over the same period.

There is a chart you can look up in the link,then this below it:


Global trend per decade = +0.078°C, (Northern Hemisphere = +0.146°C, Southern Hemisphere = +0.010°C. )
December 2004 Global = 0.102°C, (Northern Hemisphere = 0.077°C, Southern Hemisphere = 0.127°C.)

The actual data from which the above graphs are derived. Northern & Southern Hemispheres compared.
For further info see the Global Hydrology and Climate Center at the University of Alabama - Huntsville, USA

The sources for this above in raw data is here:http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.1

http://www.john-daly.com/

The Sun may actually be the main culprit.
sunsettommy
I have noticed that there is this idea that we have more Hurricanes and at category 5 too than before,is being mentioned.I post this link to show what the true picture is:

http://www.junkscience.com/Hurricanes/Hurricanes.htm

It is filled with charts covering decades,and also a few links to credible sources, such as the National Hurricane Center,a part of the National Weather Service.

Then here is a list Hurricanes that really hurt America:

http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/usdeadly.asp

Then here is a list of Atlantic Hurricanes that really hurts:

http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/deadly.asp

Take special note to the dates of these especially nasty Hurricanes,most are BEFORE 1990!
Jaime
Welcome sunsettommy. Please do not post multiple posts in a row. If you were the last person to post & have more to add, you simply need to edit your last post. smile.gif
Ptarmigan
QUOTE
It is true that CO2 levels are on the rise in the Atmosphere,along with lesser "warming gases".However the Global Warming debate has been skewered in favor of the TINY percentage of the "Greenhouse gases".Water Vapor is the Dominant Greenhouse Gas,and a gas that is too often left out of climate models.

The true composition is about like this for Greenhouse gases:

Water Vapor 98%

CO2 .05%

Methane and so on


You are right in stating that the atmosphere is mostly composed of water, however you have made no mention of the differing effects that water vapour and carbon dioxide have on atmospheric temperature. Carbon dioxide is a far more potent greenhouse gas than water. So much so, that despite only being .05% of the atmosphere, carbon dioxide actually cause around 30% of the global warming effect (the other 70% being caused by water vapour).

30% is a significant percentage - and one we can exercise some form of control over, whereas water vapour (i.e. water evaporating from the sea) is outwith our control. People are concerned about carbon dioxide because it has a disproportionately large effect on global warming.


QUOTE
The Sun may actually be the main culprit.


Umm - yeah - the sun ultimately causes global warming - the point is, when heat from the sun reached the Earth, most of it is then radiated back out into space (if it didn't the Earth would have melted a few million years ago!). Adding in a lot of greenhouse gases acts as an insulator around the Earth, which 'traps' the heat, so causing the Earth to warm up. Hence the name 'greenhouse' - because thats what a greenhouse does. Your data shows an increase in temperature - yet you seem to regard this as inconsequential...

I would agree with you that there is no real evidence linking global warming to increased storms or hurricanes. That environmental lobbying groups are trying to claim otherwise is a great shame, as climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed rationally, without hysteria!
sunsettommy
QUOTE(Jaime @ Jan 18 2005, 09:29 AM)
Welcome sunsettommy.  Please do not post multiple posts in a row.  If you were the last person to post & have more to add, you simply need to edit your last post.  smile.gif

*




Ok I got it,thanks for the clarification.
sunsettommy
QUOTE(Ptarmigan @ Jan 18 2005, 10:00 AM)
QUOTE
It is true that CO2 levels are on the rise in the Atmosphere,along with lesser "warming gases".However the Global Warming debate has been skewered in favor of the TINY percentage of the "Greenhouse gases".Water Vapor is the Dominant Greenhouse Gas,and a gas that is too often left out of climate models.

The true composition is about like this for Greenhouse gases:

Water Vapor 98%

CO2 .05%

Methane and so on


You are right in stating that the atmosphere is mostly composed of water, however you have made no mention of the differing effects that water vapour and carbon dioxide have on atmospheric temperature. Carbon dioxide is a far more potent greenhouse gas than water. So much so, that despite only being .05% of the atmosphere, carbon dioxide actually cause around 30% of the global warming effect (the other 70% being caused by water vapour).

30% is a significant percentage - and one we can exercise some form of control over, whereas water vapour (i.e. water evaporating from the sea) is outwith our control. People are concerned about carbon dioxide because it has a disproportionately large effect on global warming.


QUOTE
The Sun may actually be the main culprit.


Umm - yeah - the sun ultimately causes global warming - the point is, when heat from the sun reached the Earth, most of it is then radiated back out into space (if it didn't the Earth would have melted a few million years ago!). Adding in a lot of greenhouse gases acts as an insulator around the Earth, which 'traps' the heat, so causing the Earth to warm up. Hence the name 'greenhouse' - because thats what a greenhouse does. Your data shows an increase in temperature - yet you seem to regard this as inconsequential...

I would agree with you that there is no real evidence linking global warming to increased storms or hurricanes. That environmental lobbying groups are trying to claim otherwise is a great shame, as climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed rationally, without hysteria!
*




Very good that you pointed out that CO2 is a more powerful greenhouse gas than Water Vapor,by molecule.I was only trying to point out that Water Vapor is a far more commong Greenhouse gas,so many people are not aware that Water vapor is a Greenhouse Gas!

Edited to make text black in accordance with forum Rules.
jenreiautter
BUSH'S HAND-PICKED EXPERT: WARMING AT POINT OF NO RETURN
Global Warming Approaching Point of No Return, Warns Leading Climate Expert

You know it's got to be bad when Bush's choice for the post of chairman of the official Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change doesn't toe the Bush fantasy line on global warming.

Does anyone remember the first few minutes of the 1978 film "Superman" ? Superman's father tried to warn other Kryptonians that their sun was about to explode. He was scoffed and ignored. This is a good analogy of what's happening here in the US.

Is the phenemena known as 'global warming' the result of man or is man's impact of far less importance than the normal dynamics of the planet?

From what I understand human pollution is speeding up the process. From the article cited above:

QUOTE
He added that, because of inertia built into the Earth's natural systems, the world was now only experiencing the result of pollution emitted in the 1960s, and much greater effects would occur as the increased pollution of later decades worked its way through. He concluded: "We are risking the ability of the human race to survive."
Amlord
Always be skeptical of a scientist who uses the words "I personally believe..."

Translation: "I cannot prove..."

Science should be about facts, not beliefs. I am not discounting the Dr.'s beliefs, only the fact that he does not lay facts out in support of them.

I think the article title is a bit misleading. Dr Rajendra Pachauri is not Bush's "hand-picked expert". Yes, he was backed by the Bush administration in his current (UN) role, but he was also backed by 75 other nations.

I still maintain that we need to collect more information. It is true hubris to think that mankind can have such a dramatic impact on such a large system as the climate of the earth.
Ptarmigan
QUOTE(Amlord @ Jan 25 2005, 02:47 AM)
Always be skeptical of a scientist who uses the words "I personally believe..."

Translation: "I cannot prove..."

Science should be about facts, not beliefs.  I am not discounting the Dr.'s beliefs, only the fact that he does not lay facts out in support of them.

I think the article title is a bit misleading.  Dr Rajendra Pachauri is not Bush's "hand-picked expert".  Yes, he was backed by the Bush administration in his current (UN) role, but he was also backed by 75 other nations. 

I still maintain that we need to collect more information.  It is true hubris to think that mankind can have such a dramatic impact on such a large system as the climate of the earth.
*



Well, we have been collecting information since the 70s and it seems to me that the majority of scientific opinion appears to accept that global warming IS occurring and it IS being caused by humkan activity. And nothing is ever conclusively proven - every single accepted scientific 'fact' today has never been conclusively proven - it is simple that the majority of scientists believe that particular theory to be true. No one has ever proved gravity exists, yet the empirical evidence strongly suggests that it does.

The question of what global warming ultimately means i.e. - how it may affect the global economy - remains unanswered, because there is no way of testing anyone's theories. However it may be that we will never really be able to predict what will happen because the Earth is simply to complex - and that we will find out what will happen when it happens.

The earth is a huge and massively complex system - but it is not hubris to think that we cannot affect it. We can easily 'affect' the Earth in such a way to make it less hospitable to ourselves. Notice how no-one uses CFCs any more? Had we continued to use CFCs to the same extent as we had been until the 90s, then we would have destroyed the ozone layer....which I would consider a 'dramatic impact'...

We do have it in our power to make this planet vastly more unpleasant for us to live on. All the advances mankind has made show that, given our ingenuity, very little is ultimately beyond our reach. However that also means that we can also shoot ourselves in the foot quite comprehensively.
Ultimatejoe
QUOTE
It is true hubris to think that mankind can have such a dramatic impact on such a large system as the climate of the earth.


I'm assuming that this is a joke. We can simulate the nuclear furnace of the sun, split the atom, clone complex mammals, create objects visible from space, engineer machines that can travel millions of miles and still communicate with us, go to the moon and back, and drive entire species to extinction (which we've been doing for millenia), but we can't have any impact on a system that is incredibly complex, like the climate? That's not skepticism, that's the hubris that I see in this debate.

Yes, the climate is a HUGE system, one with nearly innumerable variables and nodes of interaction. However, you (and people who express similar opinion) always seem to move from the complex to the simple in order to better understand a syste, or to prove something; and when it comes to something as complex as climatology that is extremely dangerous. Just because a system is complex does NOT mean that it cannot be interfered with through human action. Not even the most skeptical of scientists would make such an incredibly naive claim. I accept SCIENTIFIC skepticism just fine. "Wait-and-see" skepticism makes no sense to me... especially coming from you. I dug this up in the Old News forum:

QUOTE(Amlord @ Jan 12 2004, 04:33 PM)
2. I am certain that more will be found buried in the desert.  Recall the numbers that Wertz so kindly provided:
QUOTE(Wertz @  Jan 10 2004, 09:27 PM )
25,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 499 tons and 1206 lbs. of sarin, mustard, and VX nerve agent, 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents, nuclear capability, and mobile biological weapons

25,000 liters is 6600 gallons. Less than one tanker truck.
38,000 liters is 10,000 gallons. Less than 1 1/4 tanker trucks (let's say 2)
500 tons is the estimated amount of chemical weapons that COULD have been produced with the precursor chemicals available to Iraq. Some of these precursors (most?) were used for legitimate purposes.
So how much is 500 tons? It's one million pounds. Assuming the density of water (~8 lbs per gallon) that makes 125,000 gallons. About 10-12 tanker trucks.

So now we have that all of these WMDs could fit into 15 tanker trucks.

Well, we found 30 jets buried in the sand: Some 30 Iraqi planes found buried in sands
Do you think they could bury 15 tanker trucks?

This particular discovery has no direct answer to that question. The burial of the planes does, though.

It's about discovering a pattern, a modus operendi. Burying stuff seems to be Saddam's MO. Hiding things was his forte.
*



Notice what you do here? You take a collection of facts without considering their proper scientific value, draw a general conclusion WITHOUT considering negating factors; such as the fact that the chemicals you list would have ALL EXPIRED long before they could have been buried, and assign a positive value to your conclusions. From these conclusions you are able to make a general assumption that sounds good, even though it is NOT borne out by the facts. Now, I don't want to debate WMD since this is obviously not the time or place; but your comments here do demonstrate pretty clearly that your "skepticism" has more to do with politics than critical inquiry.
Amlord
Thank you for provided that example, Joe.

See, what happened with my analysis? I took facts, analyzed them, made a hypothesis (that WMD would be found). Perhaps the hypothesis is wrong, perhaps not. It has not been tested (and likely, will never be tested).

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that we do test it and my hypothesis is completely wrong. The hypothesis is then discarded.

In the case of global warming, scientists have been doing something similar. They take readings, analyze them, make predictions. Some predictions have proven correct, some have not. The results are mixed.

However, there still remains the possibility that the hypothesis of global warming being induced by man and leading to catastrophic consequences could be completely wrong. The observations of global temperature, although rising, may be caused by something other than man made greenhouse gases.

Just as my earlier prediction is probably false, so too could the currently accepted view of global warming. Just as data discovered subsequent to my "desert discovery" prediction may disprove the original hypothesis, so too could subsequent data in this arena.

The problem here is that global climate is such a complex system, so complex in fact that no predictive model has ever been successfully demonstrated, that we simply do not know what effect one single variable has on the whole. To assume that the hypothesis is proven before all the data is in would be unscientific.
Ultimatejoe
QUOTE
To assume that the hypothesis is proven before all the data is in would be unscientific.


Well I'll give you an A for stating the obvious, but simply agreeing with general sentiment earns you no points for profundity. Nobody is disputing the above suggestion. It is not that sentiment that my last post was a response to. I agree 100% that nothing has been proven. I just despise people who seem to think that as long as something remains UNPROVEN, it remains UNTRUE. Sometimes this is for ignorance. In your case it is motivated by your own brand of conservatism.

I particularly enjoyed the way you glossed over my post and the failings in the material I quoted from you though. I did not bring up your msiguided hypothesis on WMD to demonstrate the scientific process, I did it to demonstrate that you are in fact not a skeptic, you are merely skeptical. Since that skepticism seems intertwined with certain political issues, and is devoid elsewhere, your standing as a reasoned critic of Global Warming research is low, at least in my books.
Hobbes
QUOTE(Ptarmigan @ Jan 25 2005, 04:07 AM)
Well, we have been collecting information since the 70s and it seems to me that the majority of scientific opinion appears to accept that global warming IS occurring and it IS being caused by humkan activity. And nothing is ever conclusively proven - every single accepted scientific 'fact' today has never been conclusively proven - it is simple that the majority of scientists believe that particular theory to be true. No one has ever proved gravity exists, yet the empirical evidence strongly suggests that it does.


Wow! Slow down there Ptarmigan. This is patently false. All scientific facts have indeed been proven, as have the majority of scientific theories. It is true that there are certain things that remain in the theoretical stage, but to leap from there to say that nothing in science has ever been proven is far too broad a jump.

QUOTE
The question of what global warming ultimately means i.e. - how it may affect the global economy -  remains unanswered, because there is no way of testing anyone's theories. However it may be that we will never really be able to predict what will happen because the Earth is simply to complex - and that we will find out what will happen when it happens.


This is also not true. It is quite easy to test such theories (well, assuming access to a large enough computer). It is difficult however, as you stated earlier, to test to such an extent that the outcome is guarenteed. However, that doesn't mean that such tests wouldn't offer insight that would be valuable in making decisions. Further, without such data, it is imprudent to embark (or at least, to expect that we will embark) on any drastic programs to curtail our emissions. You say we will never be able to predict what will happen--then I tell you we have no idea what is needed to solve it, and that is what is preventing any major action on it.
moif
QUOTE(lordhelmet @ Jan 10 2005, 02:29 PM)
Global warming is one of those issues that is considered a "fact" by most people.  Yet, what real evidence has proven that man is really changing the climate of the earth beyond it's normal fluctuations?  10,000 years ago, a mere snapshot in our planet's history, we were in an ice age. The planet warmed to its current state without any help at all from "mankind".

A good essay on this topic was written by the writer Michael Crichton.  The link to it is here:  http://www.sepp.org/NewSEPP/GW-Aliens-Crichton.html

The questions for debate are:

Is the phenemena known as 'global warming' the result of man or is man's impact of far less importance than the normal dynamics of the planet?

*




Well, first of all, I agree with Julien's conclusions. Completely.

Secondly, with regards to the question posed; Yes. I believe humanity is destroying the eco system which we depend on. And its not just a question of global warming.

Any fool knows that if you put to much weight on one side of the scales then the balance will be lost and what we're seeing here is an ever growing loss of equilibirum as the human race rapidly eats and breeds itself into ecological melt down.
I have no doubt that when the end comes, it will be sudden, fast and possibly terminal for us. Just like when you put to much weight on a scale.

Thirdly...

Mrs Pigpen

QUOTE
I think your mind is set in a paradigm that isn't necessarily true. Whether the effects are or are not man-made, they are not necessarily irreversible. Just as the Green revolution and birth control proved Malthus wrong, we will likely eventually come up with cost effective methods for extracting carbon dioxide from the air.

So what? What good will it do us when we can't bring back the bio diversity that is being squandered every single day!

And in the absence of such a 'cost effective method', why are we even wasting time talking about such a pipe dream?

What if there is NO cost effective method of saving yourself from extinction? How long are we supposed to wait and watch the warriors fight out their petty squabbles?

For finally. Who is to blame for this set of affairs?

The problem could be solved today if the human race could speak as one, but as usual, the stupid apes that call themselves humanity are too busy arguing and slaughtering each other in the name of God/ Allah.

The human race is doomed and were I not about to become a father I would say, good riddance!
Ptarmigan
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Jan 25 2005, 03:34 PM)
QUOTE(Ptarmigan @ Jan 25 2005, 04:07 AM)

Well, we have been collecting information since the 70s and it seems to me that the majority of scientific opinion appears to accept that global warming IS occurring and it IS being caused by humkan activity. And nothing is ever conclusively proven - every single accepted scientific 'fact' today has never been conclusively proven - it is simple that the majority of scientists believe that particular theory to be true. No one has ever proved gravity exists, yet the empirical evidence strongly suggests that it does.


Wow! Slow down there Ptarmigan. This is patently false. All scientific facts have indeed been proven, as have the majority of scientific theories. It is true that there are certain things that remain in the theoretical stage, but to leap from there to say that nothing in science has ever been proven is far too broad a jump.

QUOTE
The question of what global warming ultimately means i.e. - how it may affect the global economy -  remains unanswered, because there is no way of testing anyone's theories. However it may be that we will never really be able to predict what will happen because the Earth is simply to complex - and that we will find out what will happen when it happens.


This is also not true. It is quite easy to test such theories (well, assuming access to a large enough computer). It is difficult however, as you stated earlier, to test to such an extent that the outcome is guarenteed. However, that doesn't mean that such tests wouldn't offer insight that would be valuable in making decisions. Further, without such data, it is imprudent to embark (or at least, to expect that we will embark) on any drastic programs to curtail our emissions. You say we will never be able to predict what will happen--then I tell you we have no idea what is needed to solve it, and that is what is preventing any major action on it.
*



Umm - I completely disagree there! And I think 'patently false' is a very strong statement to make. No scientific 'fact' has ever been proven, it is one of the first things anyone studying any form of science is taught. Everything is judged by its likelihood based on the empirical evidence. Absolute 'proof' is unobtainable, so really you have to decide at what point you are going to accept the 'beliefs' of scientists and do something.

Secondly computer models have all been largely based on certain assumptions that may or may not be valid. They are also designed for different scales. There is, as yet no computer model that can in anyway accurately predict anything that the earth's climate does. I said that we 'may' never be able to predict what will happen - I had thought the implicit argument in that was that we shouldn't wait for all the facts to be in before we take action...I didn't say 'oh, well lets give up trying to figure it out'.

However, accurate predictions of exactly how global warming may affect the earth's climate would require several degrees of computing power beyond that which we currently have.

Whether the western world should attempt to drastically curtail its emissions is a different debate - I have no real opinion on whether that is a solution, my argument is that we should be looking at a plurality of possible solutions to a problem that may exist rather than assuming it doesn't exist and looking for no solutions.
Amlord
QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Jan 25 2005, 10:22 AM)
QUOTE
To assume that the hypothesis is proven before all the data is in would be unscientific.


Well I'll give you an A for stating the obvious, but simply agreeing with general sentiment earns you no points for profundity. Nobody is disputing the above suggestion. It is not that sentiment that my last post was a response to. I agree 100% that nothing has been proven. I just despise people who seem to think that as long as something remains UNPROVEN, it remains UNTRUE. Sometimes this is for ignorance. In your case it is motivated by your own brand of conservatism.

I particularly enjoyed the way you glossed over my post and the failings in the material I quoted from you though. I did not bring up your msiguided hypothesis on WMD to demonstrate the scientific process, I did it to demonstrate that you are in fact not a skeptic, you are merely skeptical. Since that skepticism seems intertwined with certain political issues, and is devoid elsewhere, your standing as a reasoned critic of Global Warming research is low, at least in my books.
*



Ah, I see. I had assumed that your contention was that my logic was inconsistent (which would have been relevant). Instead, you are bringing up some straw man argument that I was not sufficiently conservative in one instance (the WMDs in Iraq) and so my conservative approach here is suspect.

By conservative, in this case, I mean skeptical of doing something before the effect of doing it is known to a reasonable degree.

Consider: climatologists up until the 1980s were predicting an Ice Age approaching.
Consider: computer models predicting global temperature rise have been inaccurate and poorly utilized.
Consider: although the effects of greenhouse gases are known, the interactions of such green houses gases are only poorly understood.
Consider: the effects of clouds is poorly understood.


Have alternative views been sufficiently explored? Here is but one such alternative.

Again, there is ample evidence that ground temperatures are increasing. We need to further study the whys and wherefores of this change. We need to understand why atmospheric temperature has not been increasing at the same pace. We need to understand things more before we implement radical changes.
firebrand
QUOTE(lordhelmet @ Jan 10 2005, 01:29 PM)
Global warming is one of those issues that is considered a "fact" by most people.  Yet, what real evidence has proven that man is really changing the climate of the earth beyond it's normal fluctuations?  10,000 years ago, a mere snapshot in our planet's history, we were in an ice age. The planet warmed to its current state without any help at all from "mankind".


The science behind global warming is perfectly sound. A planet's temperature and climate are determined by the composition of its atmosphere as well as the amount of energy it receives from the sun. The fact is, the political right does not give a monkey's anus about the science and uses our inability to predict with 100% certainty the effects of human activity as an excuse to keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere at ever-increasing rates. In America in particular what is "scientific" has come to mean what is good for business profits. You now have the most environmentally indifferent president in US history voted into power largely by consumerist zombies who do not give a damn about the world they live in and are proud of the fact. In fact, the US presidential election was swung in favor of Bush by brainwashed "Christian" nuts who would positively welcome global catastrophe as the realisation of "endtime" prophesies.

Where the political right is not rubbishing the idea of Global Warming it glibly asserts that we will be able to adapt to it. Considering an average global temperature of 50 degrees C would make things very uncomfortable indeed, what sort of level of global warming do these mindless corporate lackeys think we can "adapt" to?
Amlord
QUOTE(firebrand @ Jan 27 2005, 06:42 AM)
QUOTE(lordhelmet @ Jan 10 2005, 01:29 PM)
Global warming is one of those issues that is considered a "fact" by most people.  Yet, what real evidence has proven that man is really changing the climate of the earth beyond it's normal fluctuations?  10,000 years ago, a mere snapshot in our planet's history, we were in an ice age. The planet warmed to its current state without any help at all from "mankind".


The science behind global warming is perfectly sound. A planet's temperature and climate are determined by the composition of its atmosphere as well as the amount of energy it receives from the sun. The fact is, the political right does not give a monkey's anus about the science and uses our inability to predict with 100% certainty the effects of human activity as an excuse to keep pumping CO2 into the atmosphere at ever-increasing rates. In America in particular what is "scientific" has come to mean what is good for business profits. You now have the most environmentally indifferent president in US history voted into power largely by consumerist zombies who do not give a damn about the world they live in and are proud of the fact. In fact, the US presidential election was swung in favor of Bush by brainwashed "Christian" nuts who would positively welcome global catastrophe as the realization of "endtime" prophesies.

Where the political right is not rubbishing the idea of Global Warming it glibly asserts that we will be able to adapt to it. Considering an average global temperature of 50 degrees C would make things very uncomfortable indeed, what sort of level of global warming do these mindless corporate lackeys think we can "adapt" to?
*



Thanks for the demagoguery and buzzwords. It really helps further the debate thumbsup.gif .

Show me an accurate prediction of the temperature rise over the next decade. In the 1970s, climatologists were predicting a global Ice Age.

Computer models that are being used now have predicted that the temperature rise should have been twice what it actually has been. Not having a predictive ability means that it is a type guesswork.

The temperatures today are not the hottest it has ever been. The Middle Ages were considerably warmer than today, with the effect being more vegetation activity. More vegetation meant more food and less starvation.

The mechanics of global warming is poorly understood. For instance, global warming predicts that there will be more precipitation and thus wetter soil. Wetter soil means that more of the sun's energy will be applied to evaporating the water and less to heating the air. The wetter soil and higher temperatures encourage vegetation to grow. Vegetation takes Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, converting it to oxygen.

The abrupt temperature changes that have sparked this debate are not the kind of changes that one would expect from a long term process such as climate change. One would expect a gradual, increasing slope line, instead an abrupt temperature spike.

If there really was the consensus that some here claim, why would 15,000 scientists sign a petition advising against signing Kyoto? More Than 15,000 Scientists Protest Kyoto Accord

Ah, yes, they (like me) must all be radical Christians or pseudo-scientists who wish to enrich their industrial pay masters...
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(moif @ Jan 25 2005, 07:57 AM)
Thirdly...

Mrs Pigpen

QUOTE
I think your mind is set in a paradigm that isn't necessarily true. Whether the effects are or are not man-made, they are not necessarily irreversible. Just as the Green revolution and birth control proved Malthus wrong, we will likely eventually come up with cost effective methods for extracting carbon dioxide from the air.

So what? What good will it do us when we can't bring back the bio diversity that is being squandered every single day!

And in the absence of such a 'cost effective method', why are we even wasting time talking about such a pipe dream?

What if there is NO cost effective method of saving yourself from extinction? How long are we supposed to wait and watch the warriors fight out their petty squabbles?

For finally. Who is to blame for this set of affairs?

The problem could be solved today if the human race could speak as one, but as usual, the stupid apes that call themselves humanity are too busy arguing and slaughtering each other in the name of God/ Allah.

The human race is doomed and were I not about to become a father I would say, good riddance!
*



That's a bit out of context. My statement was in response to Jules' assertion that global warming is happening, and we are all likely doomed to extinction, but might have a chance for survival if we mend our ways immediately. I'm not suggesting we don't look for ways to combat the problem now, but I don't agree that everything is so doom and gloom.

Congrats on fatherhood, BTW! w00t.gif flowers.gif
logophage
There is good evidence that in the past in the world was warmer, then cooler, then warmer and so on. Evidence suggests there are natural cycles associated with global warming and global cooling. What appears unique in this current cycle is the rate of change.

Temperature is directly proportional to energy. In other words, for atmospheric physics temperature is the energy associated with how much the molecules in the air "bounce" around. Now if a system were a perfect heat conductor, then changes in temperature in one place would be spread around the entire system thus averaging out point source changes in the system. The atmosphere, however, is not a perfect heat conductor. Its behavior is why we get storms in one place and not another.

Imagine the atmosphere as a pot of water. If you were to heat it really, really slowly, then its internal heat transfer would spread evenly throughout the system. It wouldn't do much except sit there and get warmer (until phase transition, of course). However, if you were to heat the pot of water quickly, you will see swirls, eddies, vortices form. This is because the system does not heat evenly; some parts get warmer more quickly. The energy wants to spread to the cooler parts. Here's the thing: the faster you heat that pot of water, the more violent those swirls, eddies, vortices become.

We have good evidence that global warming is occurring. We understand through meteorological models what even a 1 degree temperature difference can do to storm formation. We know that the rate of change in temperature can introduce radical effects in an imperfect heat conductor. What we don't know (with high confidence) is how bad the weather changes will be. But, we do know that there will be weather events which are on average more radical than what we have today.
firebrand
QUOTE(Amlord)
Thanks for the demagoguery


Demagouery? Where?


QUOTE
Show me an accurate prediction of the temperature rise over the next decade.  In the 1970s, climatologists were predicting a global Ice Age.


Since a prediction can only be judged as accurate or in accurate with hindsight you are asking the impossible.

QUOTE
Computer models that are being used now have predicted that the temperature rise should have been twice what it actually has been. Not having a predictive ability means that it is a type guesswork.


A computer can only work with the variables that are fed into it. Recent research strongly suggests that anthropogenic particulate pollution has been greatly offsetting the warming effects of increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere:


QUOTE

WHITEWATER, Wisconsin, August 8, 2002 (ENS) - Contrails from high flying jets may be helping to average out the world's high and low temperatures - making days cooler and nights warmer - concludes a report based on the almost plane free days after September 11.

David Travis, a climatologist at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater conducted a study that offers some of the first evidence for the climate changing effects of the wispy trails left by jets. His results appear to indicate that jet contrails - short for condensation trails - are leveling off "diurnal temperature ranges" in certain regions of North America, making average days cooler and nights warmer than normal.

The contrails and climate connection was almost impossible to quantify before the terrorist attacks of September 11 and the resulting three day shutdown of all commercial airline traffic. The satellite data from September 11-13 provided scientists with a view of almost contrail free skies for the first time in a half century.

Travis' research team, which includes Penn State University geographer Andrew Carleton and UW-Whitewater undergraduate Ryan Lauritsen, used satellite images to compare cloud cover from those three days to 30 years of data for mid-September. Then they reviewed daytime and nighttime surface air temperatures across North America collected from 4,000 weather stations.

The group calculated the 30 year climate norm for those three days, using temperature data from the same sources between 1971 and 2000. A final step was to calculate the "diurnal temperature range," which is the difference between the warmest spike during daytime and the coldest point of night.

When compared against the 30 year record, the group found that diurnal temperature ranges on September 11-13, 2001 expanded as much as three to five degrees Fahrenheit. That was more than double any random year to year variation over that time.

The researchers also found sharp regional differences in temperature change - ones that correspond closely with where contrails form. Contrails, which are formed by a combination of below freezing temperatures and high atmospheric moisture, are most common through the nation's midsection, the northeast and the northwest.

The biggest temperature changes, as much as five degrees, were in those regions.

"Scientists have been noticing unusual changes in diurnal temperatures for quite some time, but can't explain why," said Travis. "We're providing one possible explanation here. Maybe jet contrail coverage is one of the reasons for this shrinking temperature range."

Travis said the findings may complicate the global warming debate, since in some regions contrails offset the temperature increases predicted in global warming models. The study also underscores the point that not all climate drivers are global, as factors like contrails can make a difference on a regional scale.

The U.S. military first began contrail studies in the 1960s because of the fact that they give away fighter jet locations. Travis said there is no evidence contrails pollute, and some have argued that reduced diurnal temperature ranges could save heating and cooling costs in major cities.

But, Travis added, it would be harder to find more tangible, visible proof that human activity affects climate.

"Unlike greenhouse gases, we can all look up in the sky and see contrails and imagine how they might increase cloud coverage," Travis said.


The above quote is from a corporate lackey rightwing website dedicated to rubbishing the idea that there are environmental problems and something needs to be done about them. Here is a transcript of a recent BBC program on the subject of "Global Dimming":

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes...ing_trans.shtml

QUOTE
The temperatures today are not the hottest it has ever been.  The Middle Ages were considerably warmer than today, with the effect being more vegetation activity. More vegetation meant more food and less starvation.


Is that an incrontrovertible fact based on reliable data or a supposition? In a recent asinine newspaper article a rightwing laissez faire panglossian economic commentator confidently asserted that global warming would melt the permafrost in Siberia thereby opening vast tracts of land to agriculture! What can you say wacko.gif ?

QUOTE
The mechanics of global warming is poorly understood.


That's right. If you don't understand something it is not generally seen as a good idea to tinker about with it. Tinkering with a piece of electrical equipment we don't understand is foolhardy. Tinkering with the only inhabitable planet we know of is criminally irresponsible.

QUOTE
For instance, global warming predicts that there will be more precipitation and thus wetter soil...


It also predicts that given a large enough temperature rises the earth will be rendered uninhabitable to anything except heat-loving bacteria.

QUOTE
Wetter soil means that more of the sun's energy will be applied to evaporating the water and less to heating the air. The wetter soil and higher temperatures encourage vegetation to grow. Vegetation takes Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, converting it to oxygen.


Whatever part the life of the planet could play in removing CO2 out of the atmosphere is being rapidly nullified by the physical destruction natural habitats across the face of the earth. Concreting over land simultaneously uses fossil fuels and ensures that the area available to plant growth is diminished. The use of fossil fuels in inextricably linked with the use of natural resources in general. Reducing the overall rate of natural resource exploitation to sustainable levels will reduce fossil fuel use.

QUOTE
If there really was the consensus that some here claim, why would 15,000 scientists sign a petition advising against signing Kyoto?....Ah, yes, they (like me) must all be radical Christians or pseudo-scientists who wish to enrich their industrial pay masters...


http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title..._Climate_Change

According to another article at this site:

QUOTE
The petition is also in line with resolutions passed by state legislatures, labor unions, industry associations and consumer groups, who base their objections to Kyoto restrictions mainly on economic grounds—an expected slowdown of economic growth and huge job losses because of drastically higher energy costs, with gasoline prices rising by as much as a dollar.


So if using less fossil fuel will have such negative economic effects what happens when the fossil fuels run out? The traditional laissez faire panglossian view has been that "market forces" will magically produce alternative energy sources. I have always found it difficult to understand why reduced fossil fuel use as a result of a concious policy will lead to insurmountable economic problems, but fossil fuels running out will pose no great impediment to continued economic growth! Why can "market forces" only find alternatives to fossil fuels when reserves are getting exhausted?
Amlord
QUOTE(firebrand @ Jan 28 2005, 06:32 AM)
QUOTE(Amlord)
The temperatures today are not the hottest it has ever been.  The Middle Ages were considerably warmer than today, with the effect being more vegetation activity. More vegetation meant more food and less starvation.


Is that an incrontrovertible fact based on reliable data or a supposition? In a recent asinine newspaper article a rightwing laissez faire panglossian economic commentator confidently asserted that global warming would melt the permafrost in Siberia thereby opening vast tracts of land to agriculture! What can you say wacko.gif ?



http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/886304/posts

QUOTE
Last year, scientists working for the UK Climate Impacts Programme said that global temperatures were "the hottest since records began" and added: "We are pretty sure that climate change due to human activity is here and it's accelerating."

This announcement followed research published in 1998, when scientists at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia declared that the 1990s had been hotter than any other period for 1,000 years.

Such claims have now been sharply contradicted by the most comprehensive study yet of global temperature over the past 1,000 years. A review of more than 240 scientific studies has shown that today's temperatures are neither the warmest over the past millennium, nor are they producing the most extreme weather - in stark contrast to the claims of the environmentalists.

The review, carried out by a team from Harvard University, examined the findings of studies of so-called "temperature proxies" such as tree rings, ice cores and historical accounts which allow scientists to estimate temperatures prevailing at sites around the world.

The findings prove that the world experienced a Medieval Warm Period between the ninth and 14th centuries with global temperatures significantly higher even than today.

They also confirm claims that a Little Ice Age set in around 1300, during which the world cooled dramatically. Since 1900, the world has begun to warm up again - but has still to reach the balmy temperatures of the Middle Ages.

The timing of the end of the Little Ice Age is especially significant, as it implies that the records used by climate scientists date from a time when the Earth was relatively cold, thereby exaggerating the significance of today's temperature rise.



Here is the link to the Harvard press release.

QUOTE(firebrand)
That's right. If you don't understand something it is not generally seen as a good idea to tinker about with it. Tinkering with a piece of electrical equipment we don't understand is foolhardy. Tinkering with the only inhabitable planet we know of is criminally irresponsible.


All I ask for is some predictions that are borne out to some reasonable degree of accuracy. When the computer models predict a 1 degree C rise and are off by 50%, that does not inspire confidence. It means that the whole picture is not understood. It means that tinkering around before we understand things is not advisable.

QUOTE(firebrand)
Demagouery? Where?


Terms such as lackey, right wing, zombies, Christian nuts do absolutely nothing to add to the debate. As a matter of fact, they detract from your credibility.

By the way, if my views are panglossian, does that make your cynical?
logophage
QUOTE(Amlord @ Jan 28 2005, 08:14 AM)
All I ask for is some predictions that are borne out to some reasonable degree of accuracy.  When the computer models predict a 1 degree C rise and are off by 50%, that does not inspire confidence.  It means that the whole picture is not understood.  It means that tinkering around before we understand things is not advisable.

Yep, the world heats up and cools down. What it doesn't seem to do until recently is change "quickly". The greater the rate of change, the more extreme the weather events will be. This is simple deductive reasoning based on fundamental thermodynamical principles. We are currently "tinkering" with the climate by releasing gases other than traditional atmospheric gases. These gases (call them greenhouse gases or not) in sufficient quantities do affect the climate. If you were to follow your logic of not tinkering, you would be advocating stopping the release of these gases.
firebrand
Amlord wrote:


QUOTE
The temperatures today are not the hottest it has ever been.  The Middle Ages were considerably warmer than today, with the effect being more vegetation activity. More vegetation meant more food and less starvation.



I replied:

QUOTE
Is that an incrontrovertible fact based on reliable data or a supposition?



Amlord replied:

QUOTE
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/886304/posts etc


I was asking whether your assertion that alleged warmer medieval temperatures led to "more food and less starvation" was based on hard data rather than supposition.


QUOTE
Here is the link to the Harvard press release.


Now read this:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID...189EEDF&catID=2

So the Soon and Baluinas is by no means conclusive or without flaws. But it has been siezed upon by the oil industry and its lackeys in the US government and elsewhere as the final word on the matter. As I said what is "scientifically sound" is what is good for the business interests that control US government policy.Of course there are going to be uncertainties in dealing with such an immensely complex system as a planetary atmosphere. What is beyond doubt is that Carbon dioxide traps heat and the more of it you put in the atmosphere the more heat will get trapped by it. Type "Carbon dioxide does NOT trap heat" into the google and see how many positive hits you get. The question is whether you think it is a good idea to experiment with the only habitable planet we know of. The only conclusive proof that continuing to pump CO2 into the atmosphere will be catastrophic will be an actual catastrophe.
liberaldude81
Global warming is occuring, at least to my sources anyways.

It has been happening, very slowly, over the past 75,000 years. Seventy-five million years ago, the Earth's average temperature was about 10°F (5.6°C) higher than it is today. Almost everywhere the climate was warm and humid. Seventy-five million years ago, the continents had not drifted to their present positions and shallow inland seas covered much of the land. India and Asia were not joined; South America and Africa lay closer together; Australia was nearer to Antarctica. Cold periods on Earth have come and gone. At the peak of the last ice advance 20,000 years ago, the global average temperature was about 9°F (5°C) lower than it is today. Large areas of the northern continents were buried under colossal sheets of ice. Even though global average temperature has remained relatively stable in the last 10,000 years, there were regional climate variations severe enough to disrupt human societies. The past two decades have witnessed a stream of new heat and precipitation records. The 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1980, the hottest year ever on record is 1997, and the hottest January through July on record occurred in 1998. Glaciers are melting around the world. There has been a 50 percent reduction in glacier ice in the European Alps since 1900. Alaska's Columbia Glacier has retreated more than eight miles in the last 16 years while temperatures there have increased. A section of an Antarctic ice shelf as big as the District of Columbia broke off. Some scientists think this may be the beginning of the end for the Larsen B ice shelf, which is about the size of Connecticut. Severe floods like the devastating Midwestern floods of 1993 and 1997 are becoming more common. The world, in the past, has not taken much action to prevent global warming. The UN created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC has said ‘the oceans will rise 15 to 95 centimeters by 2100. Also, Arctic temperatures over the past 20 years have been the warmest ever in 400 years. By 2100, temperatures will rise between 2.5 and 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

I'm doing a debate regarding global warming at my school.
TedN5
I have been following the global warming debate in the scientific community for 25 years and have observed the science become increasingly solid and climate models become increasingly accurate. The credentialed critics, like Richard Lindzen, have been forced to concede that some global warming is happening. Most serious critics also concede that some of that change is human induced. The only uncertainty is how much is caused by human activity and how much more warming will occur. Some uncertainties remain like how much the induced cloud cover will tend to increase versus decrease temperatures. There are also very scary possibilities that positive feedbacks, not included in the models, will accelerate warming. An example is methane and carbon releases from warming tundra and peat bogs. The uncertainties are just as great that temperature changes are under-estimated as that they are over-estimated. Recent evidence from glacier surveys and an observed jump in the rate of increase of atmospheric CO2 makes an under-estimate more likely.

I have also watched the coal and oil industry sponsor a disinformation campaign to confuse the public about the real status of the scientific debate. They have been highly successful in doing this even though some of the more enlightened oil companies like BP have withdrawn from that lobbying effort and are actively pursuing alternative energy solution.
TedN5
The real point I wanted to make in the above post was not to refute the critics. Rather it was to point out there are a variety of reasons for drastically reducing our reliance on fossil fuels even though global warming remains the most serious one.

First, we are faced with a financial crisis because of our extreme balance of payment problems. A significant part of that shortfall is created by our import of more than 50% of the oil we use. The higher the price of that oil, the greater the contribution it makes to our international debt crisis.

Second, oil is a finite resource and we face a peak production point in the foreseeable future - 2 to 10 years if you're pessimistic, 20-30 years if you're optimistic about supplies. With world demand increasing rapidly prices will sky rocket when world oil production starts to fall playing havoc with the world economy and compounding our debt crisis.

Reducing the use of fossil fuels will also have tremendous beneficial effects on other pollutants and will lessen our reliance on military force to assure supplies.

Contrary to some of the above posts, drastic reductions in the use of fossil fuels could have positive rather than negative economic impacts. With existing technologies ample opportunities exist for dramatic increases in energy end use efficiencies and for the use of renewable alternatives. I suggest skimming the Rocky Mountain Institute's 342 page study led by Amory Lovins, Winning the Oil Endgame. It is available online at http://oilendgame.org/ Few people realize that we would be using twice as much energy today if we had followed the trajectory projected by the energy industries in 1973. Lovins, on the other hand, saw the possibilities for efficiency improvements then. He offers equally wise counsel now, if we can overcome the disinformation campaigns and provide the proper incentives for efficiency improvements while removing subsidies from the fossil fuel industries.
A left Handed person
Is the phenomena known as 'global warming' the result of man or is man's impact of far less importance than the normal dynamics of the planet?

There have been 3 warming spikes (one of whom was about two times as hot) like this one in the past 6000 years. When viewed in retrospect, whats happening now isn't particularly unnatural.
TedN5
You're right, one of the things the scientific community has discovered with its intensive focus on climate over the last 15 years is that past climates have been very unstable sometimes changing drastically within a period of a few years. Several triggers to rapid climate change have been postulated. Among these is the release of methane hydrates from the continental margins brought about by moderate increases in ocean temperatures from other causes. Another is the possible overwhelming positive feedbacks such as releases of carbon and methane from peat bogs, tundra, and permafrost. A third is the switching off of the salt pump in the North Atlantic which, in turn, slows or stops the Gulf Stream and freezing Europe. The fact that these climate triggers may exist and that they have been activated in the past makes it even more important to avoid human activity that will trigger one or more of them in the future. It may be too late!
carlitoswhey
QUOTE(TedN5 @ Feb 7 2005, 11:55 AM)
You're right, one of the things the scientific community has discovered with its intensive focus on climate over the last 15 years is that past climates have been very unstable sometimes changing drastically within a period of a few years.  Several triggers to rapid climate change have been postulated.  Among these is the release of methane hydrates from the continental margins brought about by moderate increases in ocean temperatures from other causes. Another is the possible overwhelming positive feedbacks such as releases of carbon and methane from peat bogs, tundra, and permafrost.  A third is the switching off of the salt pump in the North Atlantic which, in turn, slows or stops the Gulf Stream and freezing Europe.  The fact that these climate triggers may exist and that they have been activated in the past makes it even more important to avoid human activity that will trigger one or more of them in the future.  It may be too late!
*


Ahh - It may be too late! Let's stop whatever we are doing just in case. I think that I'll let my signatures speak to the current global-warming hand-wringing. Being an environmentalists apparently means never having to say you're sorry. I remember vividly reading in mags like Omni and Popular Mechanics in the 70's and 80's that there was an ice age coming. Some of the main founders of Earth Day in 1970 told us that the world was going to over-populate, mass famines, depletion of the oil reserves, blah blah blah. Well, here we are, the population is going to peak in the next 50 years, then probably fall given current trends, we'll have plenty of food as always. I do not believe that global warming is man-made. El Niño had a bigger impact on the global climate than SUV's ever could.
logophage
QUOTE(carlitoswhey @ Feb 7 2005, 10:24 AM)
Ahh  - It may be too late!  Let's stop whatever we are doing just in case.  I think that I'll let my signatures speak to the current global-warming hand-wringing.  Being an environmentalists apparently means never having to say you're sorry.  I remember vividly reading in mags like Omni and Popular Mechanics in the 70's and 80's that there was an ice age coming.  Some of the main founders of Earth Day in 1970 told us that the world was going to over-populate, mass famines, depletion of the oil reserves, blah blah blah.  Well, here we are, the population is going to peak in the next 50 years, then probably fall given current trends, we'll have plenty of food as always.  I do not believe that global warming is man-made.  El Niño had a bigger impact on the global climate than SUV's ever could.
*

You're using Omni and Popular Mechanics as the basis of your global warming skepticism? Hmm...where should I start.... These magazines are not scientific journals. They have no review process. They do not require accredited scientists as authors. They are simply populist rags with a sci fi (Omni) or engineering (Popular Mechanics) bent. So, you're welcome to write letters to the editors of these magazines (of course, Omni no longer exists) to elicit an apology for sensationalist journalism.....

Okay, as for the cooling stuff itself. It is clear that the science community's knowledge of climate change was pretty rudimentary in the 1970s. It had only just begun as any serious endeavor. Research techniques, models & simulation and geologic/atmospheric/hydrospheric documentation has vastly improved over those years. This is the nature of science (particularly systems theory): science is not static. Your signatures suggest a logical fallacy in the making. You're suggesting, that because some percentage of the climate science community proposed one thing in the past and now some percentage of the community is proposing something different now, that it must all be suspect. This is patently fallacious reasoning.

1. There is alot more documentation, theoretical and physical evidence, for climate change.

2. There is better modeling and simulation capabilities (bigger computers) than ever before.

3. The science community is not monolithic. There are competing interests and theories. There was a global warming contingent back in the 1970s; they just had no voice (nor did they have alot of evidence to back up their positions).

What you've got a hold of here, carlitoswhey, is something known as confirmation bias. You're cherry-picking (where have I heard that before) certain pieces of information to bolster your position. I am all for skepticism. I think global warming does require a lot of continued study. But, continued study does not mean passivity. There are things we do understand with a high degree of confidence about global weather phenomena.
carlitoswhey
QUOTE(logophage @ Feb 7 2005, 01:25 PM)
QUOTE(carlitoswhey @ Feb 7 2005, 10:24 AM)
Ahh  - It may be too late!  Let's stop whatever we are doing just in case.  I think that I'll let my signatures speak to the current global-warming hand-wringing.  Being an environmentalists apparently means never having to say you're sorry.  I remember vividly reading in mags like Omni and Popular Mechanics in the 70's and 80's that there was an ice age coming.  Some of the main founders of Earth Day in 1970 told us that the world was going to over-populate, mass famines, depletion of the oil reserves, blah blah blah.  Well, here we are, the population is going to peak in the next 50 years, then probably fall given current trends, we'll have plenty of food as always.  I do not believe that global warming is man-made.  El Niño had a bigger impact on the global climate than SUV's ever could.
*

You're using Omni and Popular Mechanics as the basis of your global warming skepticism? Hmm...where should I start.... These magazines are not scientific journals. They have no review process. They do not require accredited scientists as authors. They are simply populist rags with a sci fi (Omni) or engineering (Popular Mechanics) bent. So, you're welcome to write letters to the editors of these magazines (of course, Omni no longer exists) to elicit an apology for sensationalist journalism.....

Fair enough. Is it safe to say that most of the mailing list of MoveOn.org also do not read peer-reviewed publications? Or the 535 members of Congress? The idiots on Earth Day that protest BushHitlerChimp and his "war on the environment"? How about the environmental groups and their agenda being taught in the classroom? Those who affect public opinion are just as mis-informed and not peer-reviewed, so who am I to believe? My elected representatives are somewhere between 1) bought and paid for by greedy corporate interests, dedicated to destroying the planet in the name of profit and 2) "green" custodians of the planet, eager to sign the Kyoto Protocol even if global warming theory is wrong...
QUOTE
"We've got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of
global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing -- in terms of
economic policy and environmental policy." Timothy Wirth, former U.S.
Senator (D-Colorado)


QUOTE(logophage)
Okay, as for the cooling stuff itself.  It is clear that the science community's knowledge of climate change was pretty rudimentary in the 1970s.  It had only just begun as any serious endeavor.  Research techniques, models & simulation and geologic/atmospheric/hydrospheric documentation has vastly improved over those years.  This is the nature of science (particularly systems theory): science is not static.  Your signatures suggest a logical fallacy in the making.  You're suggesting, that because some percentage of the climate science community proposed one thing in the past and now some percentage of the community is proposing something different now, that it must all be suspect.  This is patently fallacious reasoning.

1. There is alot more documentation, theoretical and physical evidence, for climate change.

2. There is better modeling and simulation capabilities (bigger computers) than ever before.

3. The science community is not monolithic.  There are competing interests and theories.  There was a global warming contingent back in the 1970s; they just had no voice (nor did they have alot of evidence to back up their positions).

What you've got a hold of here, carlitoswhey, is something known as confirmation bias.  You're cherry-picking (where have I heard that before) certain pieces of information to bolster your position.  I am all for skepticism.  I think global warming does require a lot of continued study.  But, continued study does not mean passivity.  There are things we do understand with a high degree of confidence about global weather phenomena.

Given 1 & 2, the same could be said of nearly any topic vs. 30 years prior. Wasn't it the US patent office that thought of closing 100 years ago, because "everything possible had already been invented?" (maybe an urban myth, but a cool story) So, we have lots more data and ways to interpret, but global warming is still an unproven theory.

Moreover, the publicity on global warming always notes that there is "consensus" that global warming exists. Science is not about building consensus, it's about being right. Galileo had no consensus. Where we manage science by consensus, action is largely symbolic (see: Europe) or counter-productive (see: California) or both (see: Kyoto). Simpletons like me see a world where wealthy countries take care of the land and poor countries don't. Environmentalists focus on the fact that we "consume more fossil fuel," which depending on the decade in which you ask is either about to run out or not. It's just frustrating.
logophage
QUOTE(carlitoswhey @ Feb 7 2005, 02:30 PM)
QUOTE(logophage @ Feb 7 2005, 01:25 PM)
You're using Omni and Popular Mechanics as the basis of your global warming skepticism?  Hmm...where should I start....  These magazines are not scientific journals.  They have no review process.  They do not require accredited scientists as authors.  They are simply populist rags with a sci fi (Omni) or engineering (Popular Mechanics) bent.  So, you're welcome to write letters to the editors of these magazines (of course, Omni no longer exists) to elicit an apology for sensationalist journalism.....

Fair enough. Is it safe to say that most of the mailing list of MoveOn.org also do not read peer-reviewed publications? Or the 535 members of Congress? The idiots on Earth Day that protest BushHitlerChimp and his "war on the environment"? How about the environmental groups and their agenda being taught in the classroom?

Umm.... This is a red herring fallacy. What do members of MoveOn.org have to do with the topic of debate? You were the one who cited Omni and Popular Mechanics and not anyone else. It seems like you're upset at groups of people accusing Dubya, et al, of being a poor environmentalist and using a catch-phrase to describe it. I don't like disingenuous catch-phrases anymore than you do. Actually, I think I dislike them more. They do nothing to further good, rational debate. So, for every "war on the environment" on one side, there's a "tax relief" on the other side.

QUOTE
Those who affect public opinion are just as mis-informed and not peer-reviewed, so who am I to believe?  My elected representatives are somewhere between 1) bought and paid for by greedy corporate interests, dedicated to destroying the planet in the name of profit and 2) "green" custodians of the planet, eager to sign the Kyoto Protocol even if global warming theory is wrong...
QUOTE
"We've got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of 
global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing -- in terms of 
economic policy and environmental policy." Timothy Wirth, former U.S. 
Senator (D-Colorado)

Are we talking political strategy here or scientific theory? If you're objecting to politicians and interest groups using disingenuous rhetoric to further their agenda, then you're in good company. Here's what you're supposed to do: become informed. If this is something you're passionate about, then read up on the best theories and evidence we have available. Don't take political action committees' words for it. Don't let ideology bias you. It's okay to be wrong. It's okay that evidence may contravene one's hypothesis. I just wish principles of science and logic would make it into politics as well.

QUOTE
Given 1 & 2, the same could be said of nearly any topic vs. 30 years prior.

No, this is not the case. The Standard Model of physics has remained unchanged for the past 30 years. The theory of Plate Tectonics has remained unchanged for the past 30 years. Nuclear chemistry has remained unchanged for well over 30 years (~60 years). The DNA/RNA model of life has remained unchanged for over 30 years. Bernouli's principle, Special and General Relativity, Behaviorism, Laws of Thermodynamics, Fermi-Dirac model of semi-conductors.... I could go on and on.

QUOTE
Wasn't it the US patent office that thought of closing 100 years ago, because "everything possible had already been invented?"  (maybe an urban myth, but a cool story)

Of course, patents don't deal with science; they deal with technology. People make bizarre pronouncements all the time. But, pronouncements do not a science make.

QUOTE
So, we have lots more data and ways to interpret, but global warming is still an unproven theory.

If you're choosing this route of deeming global warming to be unproven, then you will need significantly more justification than just declaring it so.

QUOTE
Moreover, the publicity on global warming always notes that there is "consensus" that global warming exists.  Science is not about building consensus, it's about being right.  Galileo had no consensus.  Where we manage science by consensus,  action is largely symbolic (see: Europe) or counter-productive (see: California) or both (see: Kyoto).  Simpletons like me see a world where wealthy countries take care of the land and poor countries don't.  Environmentalists focus on the fact that we "consume more fossil fuel," which depending on the decade in which you ask is either about to run out or not.  It's just frustrating.
*

I agree that using consensus as the justification for the correctness of a given theory would be illogical. Consensus is correlative and not causal. That is, if a theory is correct, then eventually there will be consensus amongst the scientific community about its correctness. Consensus indicates that there is wide agreement amongst climate scientists about the validity of global warming. Now, you may disagree with their conclusions, but you will need more than just radical Cartesian skepticism to justify your claim.

In Galileo's case, consensus indeed came to pass. Clearly, Galileo's observations on motion and his Copernican model of the solar system has wide consensus today and for the previous 100s of years. Note that Galileo's theories were not all correct: in particular his theory on optics was wrong. I'd suggest reading his "Dialogues".

Lastly, I am with you on the frustration. However, I am not sure I agree that richer countries take care of the land better than poorer countries (anyway, that's another debate).
lordhelmet
QUOTE(liberaldude81 @ Feb 2 2005, 09:21 PM)
 
Global warming is occuring, at least to my sources anyways. 
 
It has been happening, very slowly, over the past 75,000 years. Seventy-five million years ago, the Earth's average temperature was about 10°F (5.6°C) higher than it is today. Almost everywhere the climate was warm and humid. Seventy-five million years ago, the continents had not drifted to their present positions and shallow inland seas covered much of the land. India and Asia were not joined; South America and Africa lay closer together; Australia was nearer to Antarctica. Cold periods on Earth have come and gone. At the peak of the last ice advance 20,000 years ago, the global average temperature was about 9°F (5°C) lower than it is today. Large areas of the northern continents were buried under colossal sheets of ice. Even though global average temperature has remained relatively stable in the last 10,000 years, there were regional climate variations severe enough to disrupt human societies. The past two decades have witnessed a stream of new heat and precipitation records. The 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1980, the hottest year ever on record is 1997, and the hottest January through July on record occurred in 1998. Glaciers are melting around the world. There has been a 50 percent reduction in glacier ice in the European Alps since 1900. Alaska's Columbia Glacier has retreated more than eight miles in the last 16 years while temperatures there have increased. A section of an Antarctic ice shelf as big as the District of Columbia broke off. Some scientists think this may be the beginning of the end for the Larsen B ice shelf, which is about the size of Connecticut. Severe floods like the devastating Midwestern floods of 1993 and 1997 are becoming more common. The world, in the past, has not taken much action to prevent global warming. The UN created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC has said ‘the oceans will rise 15 to 95 centimeters by 2100. Also, Arctic temperatures over the past 20 years have been the warmest ever in 400 years. By 2100, temperatures will rise between 2.5 and 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit. 
 
I'm doing a debate regarding global warming at my school. 
*
 



There is no question that the earth has been warming over the past 75,000 years. The issue is whether man is causing it. Given the fact that the earth went through an ice age and then warmed to the current status, well before man invented any sort of "greenhouse gas generating" technology, proves that the normal dynamics of the earth are capable of tremendous climatic change.

My issue with the alarmist environmentalist movement which is more political than science-based is that they just don't have enough evidence to make any sort of conclusion.

My reasons for this are:

1. The normal dynamics of the climate are still not understood. I've not yet read one comprehensive description that explains conclusively how the climate arrived at its current state from the time the earth was created. The models used to describe the climate and the global weather patterns are crude at best. Advances in computing power just make these crude models work faster, not better. If there is not a baseline understanding of the climate, how can one predict where that model will head? This baseline includes the interaction between temperature, ice patterns, and a whole host of other interactive variables.

2. The data collected to date is insignificant. The earth is 5,000,000,000+ years old. How long has accurate temperature data been collected? The past 100 years or so?
Such a data set is statistically insignificant. From a math perspective, applying an insignificant set of sample data to an unknown statistical model is ludicrous. Yet, that's what passes for "environmental science" in the popular media. Measuring a trend of rising temperatures over the past 15 years or so proves nothing other than the temperatures are going up. We don't understand WHY they are going up and since we don't understand the mechanics of the environment and the interaction of all the variables, both terrestrial and extraterrestrial (i.e., the sun and the rest of the universe), making grandiose statements like "man is changing the environment" is just not scientifically valid.

3. Politics has corrupted the scientific process around "global warming". Those who don't agree with this political faith are quickly branded to be "heretics" or "corporate lackeys". This topic has reached the level of a religious "faith"; evidence is no longer desired or required in order to validate the theory. It's also become about money. The fast track to grant money in universities is to jump on the "global warming" bandwagon.

Personally, I think that the global warming theory is a lot of hot air. However, the impact that this politically motivated junk science has on our economy is profound. Entire industries have been impacted. Since this movement is largely political, the antidote to it is also political, not scientific. I find it a shame that the scientific movement has allowed itself to become so corrupted by movements like "global warming". Perhaps they should reflect on their own lack of rigor and start reasserting the basic principles of the scientific process.
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