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JonIrenicus
06-16-2009, 02:15 AM
Have at it.

Lyle
06-16-2009, 04:30 PM
Not much... and an Ice Age is coming anyway.

Starwatcher162536
06-16-2009, 08:46 PM
I gave up trying to convince people on subjects relating to GW. Its a fool's errand, for every article I cite from publications such as Nature or Physics Letter Review, the other side will cite Hannity or O'Reilly and pretend they are equivalent. Every time I give a reasoned argument why it has convinced virtually all who have educated themselves on this, the other side will make unsupported accusations of conspiracy theories, or false claims about computer models and cooling trends, without understanding either.

Ive participated on numerous forums and threads about GW, and have only a mere handful of experiences where someone has made or cited an argument that relies on science that articulates real problems with GW [Which do in fact exist, mainly relating to the magnitude of it].

This issue has become to ingrained with the tribal mentality of identity politics to be settled with reasoned debate.

All we can hope for is those that blindly follow the Democrats continue to outnumber those who blindly follow the Republicans.

P.S.
Not my favorite source by far, but it gives a good summary of tearing down quackery.
http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2008/07/how_to_talk_to_a_sceptic.php

bjkeefe
06-16-2009, 09:02 PM
P.S.
Not my favorite source by far, but it gives a good summary of tearing down quackery.
http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2008/07/how_to_talk_to_a_sceptic.php

Oooo, that looks like a handy thing to have around. Thanks. From now on, we rebut merely by saying "Section 2.7. Section 4.3. Section 1.8 ..."

Agree with most of your remarks beforehand, although I still thinks it's worth engaging with some people sometimes. Not everyone who repeats Exxon-funded talking points is him- or herself a full-fledged denialist crank -- there's a chance that he or she is honestly misinformed. There's also something to be said about knocking down the nonsense for the benefit of onlookers.

But yeah, the way a scientific problem has become a partisan issue, with all the zealotry that implies these days, does get wearying.

I'm SO awesome!
06-16-2009, 10:06 PM
the world will get warmer and al gore will save $14,000 a month on his heat bill.

Lyle
06-16-2009, 11:01 PM
Starwatcher,

You didn't address the question. What's going to happen if we do nothing? The question wasn't is man-made global warming happening, but what will happen if we do nothing about it.

One of the scientists who has done bloggingheads has a great website that I like. I thought I had bookmarked it, but I prefer his site. Once I find it, I'll link it.

Starwatcher162536
06-17-2009, 12:29 AM
At current levels of emission, a 1.4 C ride in temperature in the next 75 years seems like a rather conservative estimate.

From thermal expansion alone, we could expect 1.5 feet or so rise in ocean levels. There is also the problem of rain patterns shifting and ocean acidification, which will lead to ocean oxygen depletion.

The real fear though, is that we are at a local equilibrium point, and after we put enough CO2 in the air, it will shift us into a new higher equilibrium point. In which case stuff that would happen over 75 years could happen in like..10. I haven't been convinced this is a real threat though.

Starwatcher162536
06-17-2009, 12:48 AM
Just FYI, I personally feel GW could be bad, but it is dwarfed by other ways we are screwing up the planet.

Of course, you rarely hear about the other problems, because the solutions are not something politically easy like "lets build more windfarms!", but are instead something hard, "We need population controls"

Lyle
06-17-2009, 12:53 AM
Here is the link to Climate Central that I was thinking about.

http://www.climatecentral.org/

My response was glib, but change will come slowly from what I know. Other things besides climate change will cause changes as well, like dams, levees, storms (the Louisiana coastline is projected to recede like a 150 miles inland over the next few hundred to thousands of years irregardless of climate change).

I'm just not afraid of whatever it is that is coming. I won't be around and it's not like I'm averse to having a non-fossil fuel based world economy. We just aren't there yet. I also think there could be benefits to a warmer world. Desperately trying to hold on to the Earth's status quo seems like a losing battle to me.

bjkeefe
06-17-2009, 02:47 AM
As it happens, the government just released a report that addresses this question. A link to the full report is available here (http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts/full-report). Report home page here (http://www.globalchange.gov/component/content/article/67-themes/154-publications). Overall site home page here (http://www.globalchange.gov/). An absolute ton of information, most of which I haven't looked at yet.

For a start, here are the the report's "Key findings (http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts/key-findings):"

1. Global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced.
Global temperature has increased over the past 50 years. This observed increase is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. (p. 13)

2. Climate changes are underway in the United States and are projected to grow.
Climate-related changes are already observed in the United States and its coastal waters. These include increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the ocean and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows. These changes are projected to grow. (p. 27)

3. Widespread climate-related impacts are occurring now and are expected to increase.
Climate changes are already affecting water, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and health. These impacts are different from region to region and will grow under projected climate change. (p. 41-106, 107-152)

4. Climate change will stress water resources.
Water is an issue in every region, but the nature of the potential impacts varies. Drought, related to reduced precipitation, increased evaporation, and increased water loss from plants, is an important issue in many regions, especially in the West. Floods and water quality problems are likely to be amplified by climate change in most regions. Declines in mountain snowpack are important in the West and Alaska where snowpack provides vital natural water storage. (p. 41, 129, 135, 139)

5. Crop and livestock production will be increasingly challenged.
Agriculture is considered one of the sectors most adaptable to changes in climate. However, increased heat, pests, water stress, diseases, and weather extremes will pose adaptation challenges for crop and livestock production. (p. 71)

6. Coastal areas are at increasing risk from sea-level rise and storm surge.
Sea-level rise and storm surge place many U.S. coastal areas at increasing risk of erosion and flooding, especially along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, Pacific Islands, and parts of Alaska. Energy and transportation infrastructure and other property in coastal areas are very likely to be adversely affected. (p. 111, 139, 145, 149)

7. Threats to human health will increase.
Health impacts of climate change are related to heat stress, waterborne diseases, poor air quality, extreme weather events, and diseases transmitted by insects and rodents. Robust public health infrastructure can reduce the potential for negative impacts. (p. 89)

8. Climate change will interact with many social and environmental stresses.
Climate change will combine with pollution, population growth, overuse of resources, urbanization, and other social, economic, and environmental stresses to create larger impacts than from any of these factors alone. (p. 99)

9. Thresholds will be crossed, leading to large changes in climate and ecosystems.
There are a variety of thresholds in the climate system and ecosystems. These thresholds determine, for example, the presence of sea ice and permafrost, and the survival of species, from fish to insect pests, with implications for society. With further climate change, the crossing of additional thresholds is expected. (p. 76, 82, 115, 137, 142)

10. Future climate change and its impacts depend on choices made today.
The amount and rate of future climate change depend primarily on current and future human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases and airborne particles. Responses involve reducing emissions to limit future warming, and adapting to the changes that are unavoidable. (p. 25, 29)

Hat tip, and a good place to start: Occasional B'head Joel Achenbach (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/achenblog/2009/06/11_degrees_hotter.html). His post begins:

U.S. Climate Change Report: 11 Degrees Hotter?

The Obama Administration has put out a big climate change report (http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts), and the gist of it is that we need to do something or face a drastically hotter planet -- like maybe as much as 11 degrees hotter by the end of the century. One graph shows that only one ski resort in the East would still be in operation -- way up in Maine. (And you thought Eastern skiing was pathetic as it is!)

I noted the page on Florida's temperatures (http://www.globalchange.gov/images/cir/hi-res/11-southeast-pg-112_top.png): Under the worst-case scenario, a huge chunk of the state will have high temperatures of 90 degrees or hotter for at least 180 days of the year.

On the one hand, yeah: "worst case scenarios." On the other hand, the "most probable" scenarios released by the IPCC a few years ago, IIRC, were significantly revised upward in their later reports.

So, I don't think doing nothing is an option.

pampl
06-17-2009, 08:56 AM
Just FYI, I personally feel GW could be bad, but it is dwarfed by other ways we are screwing up the planet.

Of course, you rarely hear about the other problems, because the solutions are not something politically easy like "lets build more windfarms!", but are instead something hard, "We need population controls"

What problems are you talking about? The people who use the most non-renewable resources and create the most pollution have the least children so I'm not sure population controls have any plausible ecological benefit.

Lyle
06-17-2009, 08:54 PM
What if doing something accomplishes nothing?

bjkeefe
06-17-2009, 09:14 PM
What if doing something accomplishes nothing?

Generally speaking, most proposals I've heard for reducing greenhouse gas emissions would be good things to do in any case, since in the end they amount to, or have the effect of, reducing pollutants overall and cutting down on the use of energy, especially fossil fuel-based energy.

Second, I am inclined to think that over the long run, doing things like reducing fossil fuel energy consumption and transitioning to clean, renewable sources will not be that expensive, and might well even pay off.

Third, when you consider the cost matrix, you have to consider the risks, too. That is, while it's hard to be sure about the exact effects of doing nothing, the best current judgment is that, generally, the consequences will be severe. On the other hand, the cost of "doing something that accomplishes nothing" is comparatively low risk. You could think of it in terms of, say, buying insurance, or engineering into a product an additional safety margin -- it might turn out to be money that didn't have to be spent, but it won't have been crippling to have spent it. And, as I said at the outset, I believe it's quite reasonable to expect benefits from taking steps to mitigate AGW, so some of these costs will be offset in that way.

[Added] The ninth key finding from the list I quoted earlier:

9. Thresholds will be crossed, leading to large changes in climate and ecosystems.

is the one that scares me the most. We understand little about the complex interaction of ecosystems, except that we have a history of doing to environments what seemed like trivial things at the start, that turned out to have enormous (and usually undesirable) effects. I think it is prudent to make our best effort to avoid perturbing dynamic systems that we don't comprehend, based on this history.

Lyle
06-17-2009, 11:30 PM
I'm in general agreement with you. Everyone wants a clean environment if possible, however we shouldn't be stupid and throw money down a hole.

Basically, I'm waiting for the new technology that will totally alter our energy use. Until then I'm thankful for gasoline and jet fuel. Love to fly and drive all over the place. Thank you Exxon, Volkswagen, and others. I appreciate all your hard work and exploitation of earth's natural resources for the greater good.

bjkeefe
06-18-2009, 12:07 AM
I'm in general agreement with you. Everyone wants a clean environment if possible, however we shouldn't be stupid and throw money down a hole.

No dispute there. I'm all for being smart about the approaches taken, getting the most bang for the buck, and so on.

Basically, I'm waiting for the new technology that will totally alter our energy use.

I don't agree with this. I think, as I have said, that we are not in a position to wait around. I also believe there are plenty of things that we can do right now, however less sexy they are than magical new technologies. We can start, today, with improving conservation and efficiency in a myriad of ways, from retrofitting buildings with better insulation to increasing mileage and emissions standards to making changes in our lifestyle, just to name one aspect.

Until then I'm thankful for gasoline and jet fuel. Love to fly and drive all over the place. Thank you Exxon, Volkswagen, and others. I appreciate all your hard work and exploitation of earth's natural resources for the greater good.

I'll treat this with all the respect it deserves.

Lyle
06-18-2009, 01:14 AM
You've never flown on an airplane bjkeefe? Been behind the wheel of a car before? The internet is wonderful or not wonderful (powered the world over by fossil fuels... yay!)?

bjkeefe
06-18-2009, 01:28 AM
You've never flown on an airplane bjkeefe? Been behind the wheel of a car before? The internet is wonderful or not wonderful (powered the world over by fossil fuels... yay!)?

Of course I have flown in airplanes, and of course I love my car. And the Internet. But there's a world of difference between acknowledging that and thinking seriously about how the pursuit of such pleasures/use of such conveniences might have to change, and saying something like this:

Thank you Exxon, Volkswagen, and others. I appreciate all your hard work and exploitation of earth's natural resources for the greater good.

This is either pig-ignorant gluttony and selfishness -- almost a caricature of ugly Americanism -- or trolling. It sounds exactly like the things wingnuts say expressly for the purpose of "pissing off liberals." (cf. (http://crooksandliars.com/bob-cesca/wingnuts-negate-earth-hour-stupidity), cf. (http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/9169.html))

Lyle
06-18-2009, 01:46 AM
That's ridiculous. To love the internet, is to love fossil fuels. Without exploiting our environment we wouldn't be where we are to day as a civilization. We should appreciate what we have. I'm not saying you don't, but I'm not afraid to thank the people who need to be thank, i.e., Exxon, Halliburton, Ford, Dow, etc....

Again, of course a totally clean environment is preferable to a polluted environment. We just aren't there yet. No doubt with the development of new technologies we'll get there one day.

Just remember every time you're on the internet, you're kissing the feet of some big energy exec.

bjkeefe
06-18-2009, 01:57 AM
That's ridiculous. To love the internet, is to love fossil fuels. Without exploiting our environment we wouldn't be where we are to day as a civilization. We should appreciate what we have. I'm not saying you don't, but I'm not afraid to thank the people who need to be thank, i.e., Exxon, Halliburton, Ford, Dow, etc....

Again, of course a totally clean environment is preferable to a polluted environment. We just aren't there yet. No doubt with the development of new technologies we'll get there one day.

Just remember every time you're on the internet, you're kissing the feet of some big energy exec.

That doesn't mean the proper attitude is to celebrate that fact. Yes, we have gotten where we are today largely by using fossil fuels. Yes, we are still trapped in present circumstances thanks to having our collective heads in the sand the past few decades. But that doesn't mean we can't be smart about a changing situation, or recognize past mistakes, or grow up in deciding how we're going to deal with things from this day on.

And really, Lyle, applauding Halliburton? That much makes clear that you're back in your familiar "I think I'm being smart if I act like an eight-year-old brat" contrarian mode. If that's what you want to do, have fun talking to yourself.

JonIrenicus
06-18-2009, 04:14 AM
This is either pig-ignorant gluttony and selfishness -- almost a caricature of ugly Americanism -- or trolling. It sounds exactly like the things wingnuts say expressly for the purpose of "pissing off liberals." (cf. (http://crooksandliars.com/bob-cesca/wingnuts-negate-earth-hour-stupidity), cf. (http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/9169.html))


Maybe I have some twisted God complex, but I kind of like the idea of bending nature to my will.

I do not hold nature up to the status of personhood or some sacred cow. This does not mean I want to sully it, just that I have certain priorities.

I still think holding certain areas and landmarks as protected as a good thing, like those redwoods in Northern California and other national parks, but I am not going to go ballistic because some endangered mosquito is nesting in between civilization and a natural resource, or get bent out of shape because a pipeline is strung between here and Alaska, particularly when the heaviest argument against it is that the content is oil... so it's evil? And stringing say a fiber optic cable the same stretch would be a bad thing?



To the larger topic, global warming, I do not know what to make of it. Not that it was happening, but the consequences. That last bit matters to me.


I got the issue with the ozone layer. Protective barrier, clear problem, clear cause, clear solution. But the claims about the consequences of global warming or weirding or whatever are so nebulous in their scope as to come across as pure malthusian speculation.

And btw, many policies global warming people are for are fine with me. I have no problem with stricter emission standards. For its own sake I think that is a good thing, same with relying less on fossil fuels and more on electric propulsion. I do not need to be convinced the world will end if we do not do something immediately to be for many of the things people want. But I am not a catastrophist.

If you want me along to "save the planet" you'll need to tell me what I am saving it from.

a couple feet higher sea rise? a degree higher temperature? How many people will that kill due to more violent storms? How many people will that save do to milder winters?

Ocean acidification? At least this seems more verifiable and tangible. To the extent this is an issue and causes problems in the food chain, intervene.


It's the why do I care portion of the argument that needs to be fleshed out more. The what you are trying to accomplish with a given act, and its efficacy. If I have to trade cows for a foot higher sea level, due to cow emissions, it is likely the sea will rise before people give up the cows, and be PERFECTLY happy with that tradeoff.

bjkeefe
06-18-2009, 05:16 AM
Maybe I have some twisted God complex, but I kind of like the idea of bending nature to my will.

To some extent, so do I. And when you think about what life used to be like, where you had to worry every day about being eaten alive by anything from a tiger to a bacterium, not to mention starving, freezing, losing all your teeth to scurvy, etc., it's easy to forget how much we now take for granted with our mod cons.

The way I think of the issue of addressing global warming, as with other forms of pollution and driving other species into extinction, really comes down to this: We should stop fouling our own nest. Also, we should be more aware of our own inability to predict the consequences of perturbing complex ecosystems.

I do not hold nature up to the status of personhood or some sacred cow. This does not mean I want to sully it, just that I have certain priorities.

I still think holding certain areas and landmarks as protected as a good thing, like those redwoods in Northern California and other national parks, but I am not going to go ballistic because some endangered mosquito is nesting in between civilization and a natural resource, or get bent out of shape because a pipeline is strung between here and Alaska, particularly when the heaviest argument against it is that the content is oil... so it's evil? And stringing say a fiber optic cable the same stretch would be a bad thing?


Hard to say where to draw the line. You can find an extreme example like a mosquito, but generally speaking, see my second point above -- we really don't know what it means to remove one piece of a complex system. For all we know, that little beastie is a key food source for some species of bird or bat or fish, upon which we might more directly depend or at least care more about. Or it has some symbiotic relationship with a desirable species of plant. Or maybe when its population is healthy, it out-competes some other more harmful insect and keeps the latter's population in check. Or, looked at in another light, maybe it has some unique enzyme in its blood that will give us a tip about synthesizing something useful. We usually have no frickin' clue.

As to pipelines, well, yeah. Done right, I don't have much of a problem with them. I will point out that the environment in which they're laid inevitably suffers from the games played where the owners try to buy their way out of building or maintaining the thing properly, although that says more about us than it. But there's a second part, where I ask myself, at what point does this become crazy, spending untold billions to stretch a pipe a thousand miles? And given how many tax breaks and other inducements it always ends up costing to build these things, when do we get to the point where we'd be better off investing in other forms of energy?

To the larger topic, global warming, I do not know what to make of it. Not that it was happening, but the consequences. That last bit matters to me.

I got the issue with the ozone layer. Protective barrier, clear problem, clear cause, clear solution. But the claims about the consequences of global warming or weirding or whatever are so nebulous in their scope as to come across as pure malthusian speculation.

I don't agree. The nebulousness you allude to, I think, is mostly just uncertainties about exactly when things will happen and how drastic the changes will be. If you've looked at the report I linked to above, or even just read the "Key Findings," I think this claim of mine is borne out. If you respect the judgment of the scientists who do this, then you can be certain we will experience, at minimum, major problems with flooding, more severe weather, reduction in yield in some agricultural regions, changes in species density (mosquitoes again!), and on and on. Not all of the planet will be equally affected, and some parts may well be better off. But it will mean significant disruptions for most of humanity.

And btw, many policies global warming people are for are fine with me. I have no problem with stricter emission standards. For its own sake I think that is a good thing, same with relying less on fossil fuels and more on electric propulsion. I do not need to be convinced the world will end if we do not do something immediately to be for many of the things people want. But I am not a catastrophist.

One of the problems with AGW, I'm afraid, is that it's not going to be one of those flip a switch deals. There won't be a day when -- boom -- the consequences of our profligate energy use explodes all at once. It's a creeping problem, which will likely, at first, present most clearly far away from the US, which will get worse and worse and harder and harder to mitigate. (There is some chance we could stress the system so much we cause a runaway greenhouse condition, but I don't worry about that one so much -- the lesser predictions seem bad enough.)

Anyway, I don't believe you have to be a catastrophist to believe in the probable extents of what lies ahead.

If you want me along to "save the planet" you'll need to tell me what I am saving it from.

a couple feet higher sea rise? a degree higher temperature? How many people will that kill due to more violent storms? How many people will that save do to milder winters?

Ocean acidification? At least this seems more verifiable and tangible. To the extent this is an issue and causes problems in the food chain, intervene.


It's the why do I care portion of the argument that needs to be fleshed out more. The what you are trying to accomplish with a given act, and its efficacy. If I have to trade cows for a foot higher sea level, due to cow emissions, it is likely the sea will rise before people give up the cows, and be PERFECTLY happy with that tradeoff.

I can only encourage you to read the report I linked to above, as well as the IPCC report, and follow the links from Joel Achenbach's post for more. I have to say, I feel like I've put in enough effort in this thread already, and at this point, you're about asking to be spoon-fed. Or else you're just going to keep saying you're not convinced.

As far as the ocean levels rising while you continue to enjoy your cheap burgers, well, that's your call. I think it's a selfish attitude, and that you ought to spend a little time looking into what a one-foot rise will mean to millions of people elsewhere.

Lyle
06-18-2009, 10:34 PM
http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2007/03/cowen_on_libert_1.html

That's a link to Russell Roberts interviewing Tyler Cowen about pretty much everything. He specifically asks Cowen about global warming, however. Pretty much the same question Joe has asked and both give interesting responses to it.

Cowen is in the risk is great enough to do something about it crowd, even if the risk is quite low, etc...

opposable_crumbs
06-18-2009, 11:10 PM
Sarah Palin will be able to swim to Russia?