Climate Change / Global Warming

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Vaniver
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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Vaniver » Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:12 pm UTC

Posthumane wrote:What is desirable about having an ever increasing population base?
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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Aug 18, 2011 1:08 am UTC

Posthumane wrote:
gmalivuk wrote:we want humanity to survive without millions of people dying in the meantime because of changing climates where they used to get their food.
why? What is desirable about having an ever increasing population base?
Who said anything about wanting an ever increasing population? I guess I should have been more clear that I'm talking about the millions of *additional* deaths that would be caused if most of the land now used to produce food became desert and the majority of food production had to move to what is now tundra. As in, the deaths on top of those that already happen in the normal course of things.

Whether or not it's desirable to stop population growth, surely you agree that it's better if that could be done *without* tens of millions of people dying the horrible death that is starvation?
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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Posthumane » Thu Aug 25, 2011 2:57 pm UTC

I know you were talking about additional deaths, but I'm arguing that it's really not a big issue. There is no evidence that shows that food production will be less if a shift in viable agricultural land were to occur, moving it a bit further north and inland. The only real issue that comes up is that people have to make that transition. But, since it would be happening over the course of several generations, it would be a fairly easy transition, as it would just be one more thing to add to the "generation gap" along with things like greater urbanization, increased technology use/dependence, etc.

Even if it does reduce the amount of agricultural land, thereby slowing population growth, I don't think the result is much different compared to simply letting the population grow. Either way, you eventually reach a point where the planet can no longer sustain any more people, and many people end up starving due to a lack of resources. Whether that happens at the current population numbers due to a decrease in resources, or if it happens in a few years time with double the population and the same number of resources, is irrelevant.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:19 pm UTC

Posthumane wrote:I know you were talking about additional deaths, but I'm arguing that it's really not a big issue. There is no evidence that shows that food production will be less if a shift in viable agricultural land were to occur, moving it a bit further north and inland. The only real issue that comes up is that people have to make that transition. But, since it would be happening over the course of several generations, it would be a fairly easy transition, as it would just be one more thing to add to the "generation gap" along with things like greater urbanization, increased technology use/dependence, etc.

Even if it does reduce the amount of agricultural land, thereby slowing population growth, I don't think the result is much different compared to simply letting the population grow. Either way, you eventually reach a point where the planet can no longer sustain any more people, and many people end up starving due to a lack of resources. Whether that happens at the current population numbers due to a decrease in resources, or if it happens in a few years time with double the population and the same number of resources, is irrelevant.


What if the shift is not gradual? We are already aware of numerous climate phenomena, such as the Dansgaard–Oeschger events, where rapid changes in temperature (>5 degrees C) can occur on the scale of decades or faster . The recent Younger Dryas stadial is believed to have been punctuated by an increase in global temperatures of 7 degrees C over a period of a few years.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Posthumane » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:02 pm UTC

Dansgaard–Oeschger events were mentioned just a few posts ago, and it was pointed out to me that they have not occurred in the last 10000 years. If they are occurring and this is one of them, then it is not the man-made climate change that people are battling against. If a global cooling of 5+ degrees kelvin occurred over a span of a decade, that would result in much worse conditions I think.

But my argument was working of the worst case predictions for the currently feared man-made climate change, which could result in potentially a few degree shift over the course of as little as 50-100 years. I was trying to point out that it is not the doomsday scenario that many people seem to believe it is, and any drastic measures proposed should take this into account. While it may be worthwhile to come up with technological solutions to reduce our energy use, we should be wary of massive compromises to reduce carbon emissions lest they have other consequences (economic, ecological, etc.) which may be worse.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:08 pm UTC

Posthumane wrote:Dansgaard–Oeschger events were mentioned just a few posts ago, and it was pointed out to me that they have not occurred in the last 10000 years. If they are occurring and this is one of them, then it is not the man-made climate change that people are battling against. If a global cooling of 5+ degrees kelvin occurred over a span of a decade, that would result in much worse conditions I think.

But my argument was working of the worst case predictions for the currently feared man-made climate change, which could result in potentially a few degree shift over the course of as little as 50-100 years. I was trying to point out that it is not the doomsday scenario that many people seem to believe it is, and any drastic measures proposed should take this into account. While it may be worthwhile to come up with technological solutions to reduce our energy use, we should be wary of massive compromises to reduce carbon emissions lest they have other consequences (economic, ecological, etc.) which may be worse.


Well, no the point is that gradual temperature increases may not be the problem at all. The worst case predictions for man-made climate change are that trigger some runaway feedback that leads to massive climate change over a very short period of time. We know such changes are possible, and the climate system is dangerously unpredictable. A gradual increase of a few degrees over the next 50-100 years is probably the best case scenario.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby BattleMoose » Thu Aug 25, 2011 11:20 pm UTC

Posthumane wrote:But my argument was working of the worst case predictions for the currently feared man-made climate change, which could result in potentially a few degree shift over the course of as little as 50-100 years. I was trying to point out that it is not the doomsday scenario that many people seem to believe it is, and any drastic measures proposed should take this into account. While it may be worthwhile to come up with technological solutions to reduce our energy use, we should be wary of massive compromises to reduce carbon emissions lest they have other consequences (economic, ecological, etc.) which may be worse.


Firstly, an increase of a few degrees over the course of 50-100 years, as mentioned already, is pretty much the best case scenario we have now. Secondly, I think you are looking at the consequences of climate change from purely a first world perspective, where the consequences will almost certainly be completely of an economic nature. Because such nations have the appropriate resources to deal with such changes, however, committing such resources has an economic cost.

Billions of people on this planet do not live in first world countries and the majority of them are completely dependent on nature for water, from the nations south and north of the Himalayas which are dependent on the snow melt to provide a constant supply of water all year round, or the millions of subsistence farmers. For these people, an 'interruption' of water supply very likely will mean crop failure, famine, migration, epidemics and death. Not necessarily in that order. Recognize also that these people have done 'nothing' to cause the problem and are least able to deal with it and get effectively no help from the first world to deal with their issues. Look at the current situation in East Africa if you want to know what happens when the rains don't come.

Next time you talk of consequences include this very large portion of the human population.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Posthumane » Sun Aug 28, 2011 1:10 am UTC

I'm not ignoring the populations in less developed countries (or "third world" if you like antiquated terms). I stated that the people who are least able to cope, which is largely the people in poorer countries, will have a number of deaths because they can't relocate as easily. But that situation is not much different than what is currently happening today - the poorer nations already have problems with famine, epidemics, etc. This is largely an issue with distribution, as there is plenty of food globally to go around but for a variety of reasons it doesn't get evenly distributed. This is true for all resources. So you have some regions which are "have" regions and the people live fairly well, and other regions which are "have not" and the people struggle. The thing that will change with a change in climate is which regions are have, and which are have-not. Northern Canada, Russia, and the Scandinavian countries will be the places to be a lot more so than they are now.

Of course, this view point doesn't jive with the ideology of trying to preserve all life as it is now, a sort of status quo. But I think the situation is vague enough, with us not really knowing what is causing what in our climate, that we don't even know if we can prevent any climate change.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby BattleMoose » Mon Aug 29, 2011 3:49 am UTC

Posthumane wrote:I'm not ignoring the populations in less developed countries (or "third world" if you like antiquated terms). I stated that the people who are least able to cope, which is largely the people in poorer countries, will have a number of deaths because they can't relocate as easily. But that situation is not much different than what is currently happening today - the poorer nations already have problems with famine, epidemics, etc.


Because these nations are struggling is certainly not a justification for making their lives harder! Kicking people, or nations when they are already down is generally accepted as incredibly uncool.

This is largely an issue with distribution, as there is plenty of food globally to go around but for a variety of reasons it doesn't get evenly distributed. This is true for all resources. So you have some regions which are "have" regions and the people live fairly well, and other regions which are "have not" and the people struggle.


Again, this is not a justification for making their lives harder.

The thing that will change with a change in climate is which regions are have, and which are have-not. Northern Canada, Russia, and the Scandinavian countries will be the places to be a lot more so than they are now.


Food production on Earth subject to climate change is not a zero sum game. Indeed there is reason to believe that the potential to produce food will be reduced and indeed while the climate is changing, it will be very hard to properly and correctly optimize food production, lack of past climate experience to base future decisions on, et cetera. Also, its generally considered very wrong in all societies across the world to take something from a country and give it to another, even more so when you end up stealing from the poor to give to the rich.

Of course, this view point doesn't jive with the ideology of trying to preserve all life as it is now, a sort of status quo.


This discussion is not so much about preserving life as it is now, but rather that is morally wrong to cause hardships for people, through changing their climates.

But I think the situation is vague enough, with us not really knowing what is causing what in our climate, that we don't even know if we can prevent any climate change.


Citation Needed. We know whats causing our climate to change, and much work has been done to figure out exactly how much and by what. And we do know that we cannot prevent climate change because we already have caused it to change, we have already caused a permanent shift in our climate, even if at the moment it seems marginal. The radiative heat balance of our planet is massively out of balance and it will be a long time before it approaches anything that could be described as steady state, especially considering out constant emissions of GHG.

While you might think the situation is vague, the scientific community does not. You can verify this attitude by reading the IPCC reports, which is effectively a review of all the scientific literature relating to climate change. Alternatively you can read all the scientific literature relating to climate change but you certainly do not just get to claim that, "the situation is vague enough" without any justification.

Also, if you think its okay to meddle with the climates of countries, whose well being is very sensitive to their climate, then you really ought to examine your moral and ethical perspectives.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Posthumane » Mon Aug 29, 2011 11:12 pm UTC

I'm not sure where you get the idea that developed countries are kicking undeveloped countries while they're down, and meddling with their climate. People are doing what they think they ought to do to live their lives, while simply not giving a lot of thought to the global consequences of their actions. This applies to many things, not just greenhouse gas emissions. There is a lot that people in developed countries could do to help those in need, but choose not to because it requires some compromise on their part. I don't know why you would expect people to treat climate change any differently. Anyway, I think you need to choose your terminology more carefully, as "meddling" is certainly not what I'm getting at, but rather the opposite. Also, IPCC != "scientific community" as there are many scientists, including ones involved in climate study. What you should have said was "While you might think the situation is vague, the IPCC does not."

It would also be wise for you to read the IPCC reports which you espouse. While they do mention many negative potential outcomes of climate change, they also mention several positives.
- Global food production potential is likely to increase with increases in global average temperature up to about 3°C, but above this it is very likely to decrease. * D [5.6]
- Globally, forestry production is estimated to change only modestly with climate change in the short and medium term. Production increase will shift from low-latitude regions in the short term, to high-latitude regions in the long term. * D [5.4.5]
- Benefits and costs of climate change for industry, settlement and society will vary widely by location and scale. Some of the effects in temperate and polar regions will be positive and others elsewhere will be negative.


The point that I'm trying to make is that climate change is not a doomsday scenario. It will result in a number of changes, which may be negative in the aggregate, but have to be evaluated relative to other effects in the world. Therefore, regulatory bodies should not be too fast about adopting policies to reduce GHG/climate change at the cost of other factors without giving everything its due consideration, such as its economic effects. Climate change, while one factor, should not be the driving force behind all environmental policies.

Rather than arguing about my morals and ethics, you should look at climate change as one part of the many problems that humanity has to face, and see where it fits in relative to others on a risk/reward/cost/benefit scale. Your morals could be brought into question every time you eat a burger, when you consider global problems of wealth distribution and food shortages.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby BattleMoose » Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:22 am UTC

Posthumane wrote:I'm not sure where you get the idea that developed countries are kicking undeveloped countries while they're down, and meddling with their climate. People are doing what they think they ought to do to live their lives, while simply not giving a lot of thought to the global consequences of their actions. This applies to many things, not just greenhouse gas emissions.


Changing the climate is meddling, intentional or otherwise. The first world countries have by far emitted the majority of GHGs that are causing the current problems, which is causing difficulties for third world countries. Its the very definition of kicking a country when its down. Hey you, we know you are struggling but yeah, now you get to have a changing climate too! It might mess with your fresh water supplies and food production but yeah, deal.

There is a lot that people in developed countries could do to help those in need, but choose not to because it requires some compromise on their part. I don't know why you would expect people to treat climate change any differently. Anyway, I think you need to choose your terminology more carefully, as "meddling" is certainly not what I'm getting at, but rather the opposite. Also, IPCC != "scientific community" as there are many scientists, including ones involved in climate study. What you should have said was "While you might think the situation is vague, the IPCC does not."


Not helping someone or a nation is very different from directly causing them problems. Climate change is a problem caused by first world nations, they have a moral obligation to clean up their mess or help others deal with the mess they caused. Also, when it comes to climate science, the IPCC is effectively the scientific community. If you are unfamiliar with how the IPCC operates, it effectively reviews all scientific literature relating to climate science and publishes assessment reports based on the available knowledge.

It would also be wise for you to read the IPCC reports which you espouse. While they do mention many negative potential outcomes of climate change, they also mention several positives.

- Global food production potential is likely to increase with increases in global average temperature up to about 3°C, but above this it is very likely to decrease. * D [5.6]
- Globally, forestry production is estimated to change only modestly with climate change in the short and medium term. Production increase will shift from low-latitude regions in the short term, to high-latitude regions in the long term. * D [5.4.5]
- Benefits and costs of climate change for industry, settlement and society will vary widely by location and scale. Some of the effects in temperate and polar regions will be positive and others elsewhere will be negative.


This is quite correct, there are some positives to climate change, but most people realize that the negatives are grossly out of proportion to the positives.

The point that I'm trying to make is that climate change is not a doomsday scenario. It will result in a number of changes, which may be negative in the aggregate, but have to be evaluated relative to other effects in the world.


It is not a doomsday scenario for you! Do you get it, people are going to die, this is not hyperbole, people are going to be displaced and some countries will even have to be abandoned. It is not okay to cause this harm on other people.

Therefore, regulatory bodies should not be too fast about adopting policies to reduce GHG/climate change at the cost of other factors without giving everything its due consideration, such as its economic effects. Climate change, while one factor, should not be the driving force behind all environmental policies.


Sadly we have no regulatory body to do such things, so you don't have to worry. :-/

Rather than arguing about my morals and ethics, you should look at climate change as one part of the many problems that humanity has to face, and see where it fits in relative to others on a risk/reward/cost/benefit scale. Your morals could be brought into question every time you eat a burger, when you consider global problems of wealth distribution and food shortages.


This is an extract from a statement from the AAAS, in 2006: http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2007/ ... ment.shtml

Delaying action to address climate change will increase the environmental and societal consequences as well as the costs. The longer we wait to tackle climate change, the harder and more expensive the task will be.


The AAAS if you are not familiar, is literally one of the most respected scientific bodies on the planet, and they felt it was necessary to issue a statement regarding action on climate change, not any of the other issues facing humanity but climate change, because it is that big of a deal. You can find similar statements from just about every respected scientific body on the planet, all about climate change.

Fundamentally, it seems you just don't appreciate what the consequences of climate change are expected to be for millions of people around the planet.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Posthumane » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:17 am UTC

BattleMoose wrote:It is not a doomsday scenario for you! Do you get it, people are going to die, this is not hyperbole, people are going to be displaced and some countries will even have to be abandoned. It is not okay to cause this harm on other people.

BattleMoose wrote:Fundamentally, it seems you just don't appreciate what the consequences of climate change are expected to be for millions of people around the planet.

On the contrary, I appreciate it and can put it into perspective. Millions dying and being displaced, while obviously a Bad Thing, it is comparable to the effects caused by a host of other problems. Even if we assume that an additional 1 million people per year will die as a result during a period of adaptation, that is less than a 2% increase in annual death rate, and a decrease in life expectancy to that of just a few decades ago. The amount of people displaced and killed due to conflicts, poor distribution, shoddy politics, etc. has a much greater impact on quality of life than displacement over the course of decades due to climate.

While we should try to mitigate the effects of this, it shouldn't be the sole focus at the cost of other measures. In case you missed it before, I am definitely for the reduction in energy consumption for a variety of reasons, so I'm not proposing that things are left as they are, but rather that a balanced approach is taken. Everything we do has an affect on the global population, whether it is obvious or not. Not helping people who are starving now is not fundamentally different than not helping to reduce globabl GHG production (while we can make efforts to sacrifice at home and reduce our own emissions, you might have a hard time convincing the largest GHG producers to do the same).

Since the population is growing steadily, eventually we will reach a balance of population vs resources, basically where there is just enough resources for everyone's subsistence. Whether that happens in a couple hundred years due to a increase in population, or a hundred years due a decrease in resources, is kind of irrelevant.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby yurell » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:37 am UTC

Posthumane wrote:Even if we assume that an additional 1 million people per year will die as a result during a period of adaptation, that is less than a 2% increase in annual death rate


Can I ask why you assume that number?
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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Posthumane » Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:39 am UTC

I have no basis for that assumption, just throwing something out there to prove a point. If there are any actual estimates on the number of additional deaths that the displacement due to climate change might cause, please point me to them.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Vaniver » Tue Aug 30, 2011 1:12 pm UTC

Posthumane wrote:I have no basis for that assumption, just throwing something out there to prove a point. If there are any actual estimates on the number of additional deaths that the displacement due to climate change might cause, please point me to them.
So, you're saying that you're proving your point by stating it?
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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Posthumane » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:43 pm UTC

Nope, what I'm saying is that you can assume some large group of people will be displaced, will die, etc. and it invokes an emotional response in people akin to "ZOMG, People will die! We have to do everything in our power to stop it!" whereas I'm suggesting that such a response be put on the sidelines and it be looked at in relation to other things that are happening around the world, as well as other effects that climate change will have which may be positive or neutral. Perhaps are efforts are best spent focusing on adaptation rather than trying to reduce or reverse the trend, especially if it's through drastic geoengineering schemes. Anyway, I've admitted that the figure I used is baseless, and still am hoping someone puts up a reference that does have actual estimates. The IPCC publications state that there will be an effect on extreme weather phenomena, and that poorer countries are more vulnerable (which is obvious), they don't really have a guess as to what extent the issues will be. In fact, in their fourth assessment pertaining to Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability they state:
Aside from major extreme events and thresholds, climate change is seldom the main factor in considering stresses on the sustainability of industry, settlements and society (very high confidence).
The significance of climate change (positive or negative) lies in its interactions with other non-climate sources of change and stress, and its impacts should be considered in such a multi-cause context. [7.1.3, 7.2, 7.4]

Industry, settlements and society are often capable of considerable adaptation, depending heavily on the competence and capacity of individuals, communities, enterprises and local governments, together with access to financial and other resources (very high confidence).
But that capacity has limits, especially when confronted by climate changes that are relatively extreme or persistent. [7.4.3, 7.6]

They are not spelling out a doomsday scenario either. Anyway, do people on here believe that mitigation/reduction is the best solution? Is adaptation not a good thing to focus on? why or why not?

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Zamfir » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:12 pm UTC

The main reason? The people who have to do the reduction are also the people who are causing the problem, and the people in the best position to do something while keeping a very good way of living by any worldwide measure.

Adaptation on the other hand means that those well-off people causing the problem continue to do so. While the consequences are born by others, who are also in a position with far less attractive options.

In theory, the polluters (i.e. us) could keep polluting and promise to compensate the people suffering the consequences, or to pay for their adaptation. In practice, there is no mechanism to enforce such a promise, no way to derive a "fair" compensation , no way to judge how much a given bad outcome is caused by the polluters, and in fact not even a guaranteed reliable method how rich countries can help poor countries even when they want to.

So relying on 'adaptation' will most likely end in rich countries doing their own adaptation, while watching how poorer countries fail at theirs, with neither the will not the ability to make a difference there.

Just for fun, read one of those adaptation vs reduction studies. Usually they measure costs in GDP to make that trade-off. Then realize that the entire GDP of Bangladesh is a few tenth of a percent of world GDP, so if "adaptation" would mean that everyone in Bangladesh is half as rich as now, and reduction of CO2 means that developed world get slower cars for the same price, the study would conclude that the two are fairly comparable in impact on the world.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Posthumane » Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:12 pm UTC

I think that's well said, Zamfir, and I think you have good points.

One thing I would contend though is our ability to help poorer countries with their adaptation, vs. our ability to convince other countries to reduce emissions. Your country (the US) may produce a large chunk of the GHG emissions, and certainly is pretty high on the per capita emissions, and it's true that some reductions can be had with minimal economic impact. Those are the ones I support, such as more reliance on Nuclear power, more efficient transportation, etc. However, in order to truly reach target emissions, you would also have to convince countries like China to follow suit. They are an even bigger emitter, and are on a significant upward trend. Trying to forcefully reduce their emissions would have major economic impacts on some segments of their population.

Developed nations also do have some influence over the adaptation of poorer nations. There are a number of strategies that could be implemented to help relocation of people to more productive land in higher latitudes through an alteration in countries' immigration policies, and possibly some financial incentives. Also, population reduction through a reduction in birthrate by education and incentives could probably go a long way, though is not very Basically Decent.

Other than that though, I accept your premise.

Edit: I didn't catch a mistake in my earlier post. When I said the existence of climate change is vague, I meant to say the effects of climate change are vague, which I believe they are.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby TrlstanC » Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:24 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Just for fun, read one of those adaptation vs reduction studies. Usually they measure costs in GDP to make that trade-off. Then realize that the entire GDP of Bangladesh is a few tenth of a percent of world GDP, so if "adaptation" would mean that everyone in Bangladesh is half as rich as now, and reduction of CO2 means that developed world get slower cars for the same price, the study would conclude that the two are fairly comparable in impact on the world.


Exactly. Also, If the goal is to improve the welfare of the worldwide population in general (and avoiding/mitigating the negative effects of global warming is probably part of that goal) then we would want to do things that would lead to increasing the GDP of the poorest nations, so that they'll have access to some of the most basic advances we take for granted.

Hans Rosling does a great job of laying out the facts of the situation in this TED talk (the magic washing machine).

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Arrian » Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:01 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:The main reason? The people who have to do the reduction are also the people who are causing the problem, and the people in the best position to do something while keeping a very good way of living by any worldwide measure.

Adaptation on the other hand means that those well-off people causing the problem continue to do so. While the consequences are born by others, who are also in a position with far less attractive options.


That's true for, what, about half the total CO2 output and falling rapidly, maybe three fourths? But that's not true of China and India, their people will be materially hurt by emissions reduction, and they're still largely peasant societies. Hitting the 450-550ppm CO2 equivalent concentrations that Kyoto and similar treaties and scientists want will require China and India to sacrifice as well. It's a real question of what will hurt worse: Cut backs in CO2 production or adaptation for those countries. (Look at China, they're still willing to suffer massive smog in their cities and the occasional benzene spill in their rivers for the improved standard of living that low-regulation industrialization provides.) But if those two countries don't get on board, the rest of the world pretty much can't hit the greenhouse gas targets.

The problem for the first world and the developing world alike is that emission reduction costs are borne up front, are high, and are guaranteed. On the other hand, adaptation costs are going to be borne decades to centuries down the road, are very uncertain and advancing technologies will likely make it easier (thus cheaper) to adapt the further into the future we get. Adaptation costs can even be rolled into the natural capital replacement costs, for example, as new buildings are built further inland to replace obsolete ones before sea level rise truly becomes a danger.

Bangladesh is a fairly special case that's going to be hosed regardless, if the IPCC projections and realistic political expectations hold true. Even under the best projections, we're going to see enough warming and sea level rise to do them serious damage, and they are in close to the worst condition for adaptation. I don't think Bangladesh is a good example of the average poor country since they're a low lying country right on the coast and very minimal sea level rise will claim significant portions of their land. The case for adaptation is much less clear in, say, Kenya, or even Ethiopia or the DRC. They're more likely to be most affected by crop growing conditions and adaptation will be more a question of whether they will be able to develop hybrids or willing to buy GMOs that are adapted to the new conditions. Those adaptation costs are going to be less acute than for Bangladesh, and western countries can foot significant portions of them through footing the bill to develop the new strains.

There's a strong possibility that adaptation will likely lead to lower or more bearable costs than abatement. And like TrlstanC mentioned, every advocate of adaptation that I've heard has also advocated working to improve the GDP of poor countries to make them more able to adapt, which should have a much higher rate of return than the cost of abatement. It's pretty much the core theme of Bjorn Lomborg's Cool It book and movie, to mention the first one that comes to mind.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:25 am UTC

Arrian wrote:
Zamfir wrote:The main reason? The people who have to do the reduction are also the people who are causing the problem, and the people in the best position to do something while keeping a very good way of living by any worldwide measure.

The case for adaptation is much less clear in, say, Kenya, or even Ethiopia or the DRC. They're more likely to be most affected by crop growing conditions and adaptation will be more a question of whether they will be able to develop hybrids or willing to buy GMOs that are adapted to the new conditions. Those adaptation costs are going to be less acute than for Bangladesh, and western countries can foot significant portions of them through footing the bill to develop the new strains.


Honestly, I think it is far more likely that countries such as these will either face mass starvation, civil war, or will invade one or more of their neighbours. The developed world's record on Africa is pretty much a disaster from start to finish. Expecting any significant measures for adaptation in Africa at any point in the near-future is wildly optimistic IMHO.

FWIW, China and India together account for less than 30% of annual CO2 output. Considering that developed world accounts for the bulk of the remainder, and that we've had a ~200 year head start to pollute as much as we wanted, and still have much higher per capita GHG emissions than either China or India, I don't think we're in any position to argue that China and India need to be making massive cuts since the problem is almost exclusively our fault.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Posthumane » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:20 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:FWIW, China and India together account for less than 30% of annual CO2 output. Considering that developed world accounts for the bulk of the remainder, and that we've had a ~200 year head start to pollute as much as we wanted, and still have much higher per capita GHG emissions than either China or India, I don't think we're in any position to argue that China and India need to be making massive cuts since the problem is almost exclusively our fault.

True, China and India do make up only about a thrid of the CO2 emissions, but that is not an insignificant amount. The "developed world" which could include the US, Canada, EU, Japan, etc. emits about 50%. However, most developed countries have, at worst, a slow rise in emissions, and at best a plateau or decline depending on the country. China, on the other hand, has tripled its emissions over the last 10 years and the trend is continuing sharply upwards. So while the developed countries have been the largest polluters and have the largest burden of cleaning up, China does play a significant role now and will continue to do so in the coming decades, so their contribution can't be ignored. While reducing our output by, say, 10% over the next decade is an amiable goal, it doesn't account for much if China again doubles their output.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Zamfir » Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:54 pm UTC

I am not sure that changes the argument much. It just means that there will be people in China in the same position as us: they have profited a lot from carbon emissions, and are rich enough to buy themselves protection from not too extreme outcomes. Odds are, this group will not even be all of China. In India, definitely not.

I can completely understand if countries like that are not going to risk a move away coal-based development approach, if that turns out to be succesful. If anything, that makes it even more important to deelopment a viable system of power generation and transportation that doesn't emit much CO2. Partially so our emissions can fall as others join the club, partially to offer mature technologies to developing countries who cannot afford the experimentation themselves.

Put it this way: China, India, other countries are not opposed to low-carbon power sources and( directly or indirectly) grid powered cars. Odds are, they would love them, to avoid the horrible smog, and their own cliamte change problems in the future. And they have less existing infrastructure to replace, they can install the stuff along the way.

But it has to be mature, the kinks worked out, the advantages and disadvantages of various options clear, costs clear upfront and not too high, the political . The richer parts of the world (including rich parts of poor countries) can find those things out, because we can risk some setbacks along the way, afford the cost of experimentation, we have the know-how infrastructure, and we caused the problem in the first place.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Posthumane » Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:26 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I can completely understand if countries like that are not going to risk a move away coal-based development approach, if that turns out to be succesful. If anything, that makes it even more important to deelopment a viable system of power generation and transportation that doesn't emit much CO2. Partially so our emissions can fall as others join the club, partially to offer mature technologies to developing countries who cannot afford the experimentation themselves.

Put it this way: China, India, other countries are not opposed to low-carbon power sources and( directly or indirectly) grid powered cars. Odds are, they would love them, to avoid the horrible smog, and their own cliamte change problems in the future. And they have less existing infrastructure to replace, they can install the stuff along the way.

I have no disagreement with that. The reason that China was mentioned was in response to the statement that it is the developed countries causing the problems, and the developing countries being affected by it, whereas in reality the line is not so clearly defined. China was simply an example of a major contributor to the problem, as well as a country which is very vulnerable to the effects.

While this doesn't affect the argument for reducing our energy use by technological developments which increase efficiency, it does skew the mitigation vs. adaptation argument somewhat. You mentioned that adaptation has challenges associated with it due to the fact that poorer countries will bear the brunt of the adaptation, while developed (richer) countries have limited opportunity/desire to help them deal with it. While this is true, this is also a problem for mitigation, in that international politics and policies prevent countries from enforcing mitigation measures on other countries (for good reason).

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby BattleMoose » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:48 am UTC

I have no idea where this perception that China doesn't care about climate change or isn't doing anything about it is coming from.

They have serious targets about reducing their climate impact, this is not contradictory with their development which is increasing their GHG emissions. For a point of reference, China has the most installed capacity of wind energy in the world. And has a target to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy of between 40-45% by 2020, compared to 2005 levels. Also its leadership acknowledges climate change as a problem and generally a lot of research is coming out of China regarding environmental impacts and climate change.

And the only fair way to compare greenhouse gas emissions is by a per capita basis (actually this gets super complicated if you want to include 'family planning', which would only credit China anyways). By a per capita basis, the USA has over FIVE times more emissions than China and have virtually no political will or public support for climate mitigation measures, similar criticisms can be laid against Australia.

The real question is how can China be expected to do anything when countries such as the USA and Australia, who have such incredibly high living standards cannot be arsed to do a thing. The lead should be coming from the first world and the USA and Australia should be ashamed that a developing country such as China is more globally responsible in this regard.

Fact, China will increase its standard of living and consequently its energy production and GHG emissions, to expect anything less would be incredibly hypocritical. To expect China to obtain a living standard or GHG emission per capita less than the USA or Australia would be similarly hypocritical. The most that can be expected is that China obtains an GHG emission per capita less than the USA and we should be *very* grateful that China is aiming a lot lower.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Posthumane » Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:58 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:And the only fair way to compare greenhouse gas emissions is by a per capita basis (actually this gets super complicated if you want to include 'family planning', which would only credit China anyways).


The per-capita vs. per-nation discussion is an interesting one. While per capita energy use is important in determining who's using more than their "fair share" one could also argue that per-nation use/emissions are important since emissions policies are developed an enforced by national governments. A reduction policy implemented by a government with the highest overall emissions will have a bigger effect than the same reduction policy implemented by a nation with low overall consumption, even if their per-capita is high. Places like Qatar and Luxembourg, for example, may have very high per-capita emissions but with their low populations any reduction policy they put in place will have little effect.

Likewise, the planet cares little whether GHG are produced by 100M people at a rate of 50T/ca or by 1B people at a rate of 5T/ca. The end effect is the same. It could also be said that the former situation is more preferable from a quality of life standpoint. Family planning initiatives in China can't be given that much credit; their one child policy was poorly and selectively implemented, and from 1979 to 2009 they've had a 37% increase in population, comparable to the US 36% increase.

BattleMoose wrote:. By a per capita basis, the USA has over FIVE times more emissions than China and have virtually no political will or public support for climate mitigation measures, similar criticisms can be laid against Australia.

Can you provide a source for your stats? Not that I don't believe you necessarily, but going with 2008 CO2 emissions, China had 5.3T/ca and USA had 17.9T/ca.

BattleMoose wrote:The real question is how can China be expected to do anything when countries such as the USA and Australia, who have such incredibly high living standards cannot be arsed to do a thing. The lead should be coming from the first world and the USA and Australia should be ashamed that a developing country such as China is more globally responsible in this regard.

The reason China has lower emissions is that much of its population still gets by on subsistence farming. While it may have a stated policy of reducing emissions, the US, Canada, Germany, France, UK have actually reduced their CO2 emissions since 2005, whereas China has been exponentially increasing, so it's not like the first world hasn't been arsed to do anything compared to China. Even the wind installations that you mention - China has the largest installed capacity, but per capita the US, Europe, and even Australia produce more from wind than China does.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby BattleMoose » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:30 pm UTC

In terms of who can fairly be able to emit what GHG emissions, going as a per nation just seems absurd. Is it fair for Luxembourg to be able to emit as much GHG as the USA? How does that even remotely sound fair? I recognise the issues with using as a per capita basis but honestly, I don't think there is a better alternative, unless we start going super complicated. Yes, China does have a large rural population which don't produce much, but that is changing. We should be concerned about China's emissions, but I am going to make the point again that we can only legitimately point the finger as it were at china, when its per capita emissions are equivalent to that of the first world. And from my perspective, the more the first world is able to reduce its per capita emissions, the larger the expectation can be made of China and its commitments.

And I must be honest, I am absolutely stunned that the USA has actually started to reduce its emissions, stunned. Haven't looked at its emissions on a time curve before, its a marginal reduction but its there.

Can you provide a source for your stats? Not that I don't believe you necessarily, but going with 2008 CO2 emissions, China had 5.3T/ca and USA had 17.9T/ca.


Wikipedia? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... per_capita Looking at 2005, CO2 equivalents. With the USA 23.5T/ca and China at 5.5T/ca. Okay its a bit shy of 5 times.

Also, in terms of what is expected from the citizens of the first world, the expectations from a citizen from Luxembourg should be equivalent to that of a citizen from the USA and China, everyone needs to do their fair bit to mitigate this problem.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Zamfir » Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:13 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:And I must be honest, I am absolutely stunned that the USA has actually started to reduce its emissions, stunned. Haven't looked at its emissions on a time curve before, its a marginal reduction but its there.

It's called a recession.

Another relevant issue: rich countries have been moving part of their most power-hungry industries to China. I can't find the data (so don't trust this as hard fact), but I recently saw a graph claiming that pretty much all the improvement in per capita CO2 of of the UK in the last decades can be ascribed to offshoring. The one country that really made cuts in CO2 output is Germany, by closing East-Germany's old-fashioned industry.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Posthumane » Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:27 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:Wikipedia? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... per_capita Looking at 2005, CO2 equivalents. With the USA 23.5T/ca and China at 5.5T/ca. Okay its a bit shy of 5 times.

Ah, therein lies the difference. I was looking at 2008 data (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_co ... _emissions <-This list divided by 2008 population figures found on google world bank) which gives China about 3 times per capita emissions vs. 5 times in 2005. Small difference though, your point is still valid.

Zamfir wrote:It's called a recession.

Another relevant issue: rich countries have been moving part of their most power-hungry industries to China. I can't find the data (so don't trust this as hard fact), but I recently saw a graph claiming that pretty much all the improvement in per capita CO2 of of the UK in the last decades can be ascribed to offshoring. The one country that really made cuts in CO2 output is Germany, by closing East-Germany's old-fashioned industry.

The recession may have a lot to do with the emissions drop in the last few years, but the latest recession started in late 2007. Google's data for CO2 emissions per capita over time (found here) ends in 2007, but shows that the US has had a slow decline since a small peak in 2000, and was lower in 2007 than it was in the late 1980s. One thing that is interesting is France has been steadily declining in per capita emissions since the 70's and was down around 6T/ca in 2007, very close to what China is emitting. I guess they are the country to emulate, with all their delicious nuclear energy.

One way to account for a change in industry is to compare emissions per GDP. This isn't totally accurate, but it takes industry into account a bit more than per capita. In 2008, China was emitting 1.55MT/$B, down from 2.49MT/$B in 2005. The US was emitting 0.38T/$B in 2008, and 0.46T/$B. I'm not sure how well this takes into account offshoring, as I don't know how products produced in one country but owned by a company in another country count against the GDP exactly. Anyone care to explain?

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Torchship » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:41 am UTC

Posthumane wrote: In 2008, China was emitting 1.55MT/$B, down from 2.49MT/$B in 2005. The US was emitting 0.38T/$B in 2008, and 0.46T/$B.


Urm, I suspect that you missed a 'M' or two here. Unless the US really is producing a factor of one million less CO2 per dollar.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Zamfir » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:05 am UTC

Posthumane wrote: I'm not sure how well this takes into account offshoring, as I don't know how products produced in one country but owned by a company in another country count against the GDP exactly. Anyone care to explain?

The D in GDP means that it is about production within the borders. GNP is the production owned by residents of the country. So comparing CO2 emissions within the borders to GDP is OK.

The problem is that we're looking at production, instead of consumption. But if we want to know who benefits from CO2 emissions, we should presumably look at consumers. Suppose I write software usuable by other people than me, someone else makes cement for two persons, and we then trade so we each end up with the same software and cement. It would be weird to claim that the cement maker is benefiting more from CO2 emissions than me, just because the emissions took place where he was working.

So if a country imports more CO2-intensive products then it exports, (or simply imports more than it exports at all, measured in dollars), it will look much 'cleaner' if you only look at its own production.

Here is the abstract of a paper on China's imports and exports:
China is the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2). As exports account for about one-third of China's GDP, the CO2 emissions are related to not only China's own consumption but also external demand. Using the input-output analysis (IOA), we analyze the embodied CO2 emissions of China's import and export. Our results show that about 3357 million tons CO2 emissions were embodied in the exports and the emissions avoided by imports (EAI) were 2333 million tons in 2005. The average contribution to embodied emission factors by electricity generation was over 35%. And that by cement production was about 20%. It implies that the production-based emissions of China are more than the consumption-based emissions, which is evidence that carbon leakage occurs under the current climate policies and international trade rules. In addition to the call for a new global framework to allocate emission responsibilities, China should make great efforts to improve its energy efficiency, carry out electricity pricing reforms and increase renewable energy. In particular, to use advanced technology in cement production will be helpful to China's CO2 abatement.

So the net balance is 1000 million tons of CO2 each year 'leaving' China, out of total Chinese emissions of about 7,000 million tons. And therefore the rest of the world 'consumes' 1,000 million tons more then they produce, about 4% of their total consumption. Note: I got the total numbers from 2008, but the Chinese paper might have a used a different year.

This is a paper that looked worldwide, for 2004.
We find that, in 2004, 23% of global CO2 emissions, or 6.2 gigatonnes CO2, were traded internationally, primarily as exports from China and other emerging markets to consumers in developed countries. In some wealthy countries, including Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, the United Kingdom, and France, >30% of consumption-based emissions were imported, with net imports to many Europeans of >4 tons CO2 per person in 2004. Net import of emissions to the United States in the same year was somewhat less: 10.8% of total consumption-based emissions and 2.4 tons CO2 per person. In contrast, 22.5% of the emissions produced in China in 2004 were exported, on net, to consumers elsewhere.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby hawkinsssable » Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:28 am UTC

Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.

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Anthropogenic Global Warming: Engineering review(Burt Rutan)

Postby Xylos » Fri Apr 27, 2012 5:44 am UTC

The link provided leads to a website, and specifically a power point presentation, composed of roughly 100 slides. This is an analysis of Human-Driven Global Warming, as presented by Climate scientists and independently reviewed by an engineer. More specifically, he considered the statistical significance, accuracy of models and predictions, trends with establish vs implied causality, and other questions that are standard when looking at data and models.

*Burt Rutan's conclusion is largely that humanity has had little noticeable, and no dangerous, effect on the global climate. Nor will we through modalities such as carbon emission. The data used to back up the alarmist view is demonstrably misleading or patently false in many areas. Furthermore their dangerous predictions are all based on models that are only based on the last 30 years, and yet have all failed to accurately predict the climate over the past 10-15 years, or at all coincide with empirical data. He finds Anthropogenic Global Warming to be a scientific parody that will have dangerous consequences in the form of hurtful economic ramification to the United States and abroad in an empty effort to stop something that does not exist.


I thought this would be a great place to post it for a discussion. While I have no power here what-so-ever, I would ask that in the interest of maintaining the integrity and focus of this topic, that people only post who have read through the entire Power point, and made an effort to understand each graph. I would especially appreciate any climate scientists reading this to provide their opinions on specific slides, and offer explanations. I find Rutan's analysis very compelling myself, and I would like to hear someone with credentials and experience host a counter-opinion. I would also encourage anyone and everyone with any sort of data interpretation skills to form their opinions and point out any perceived errors in both the Global Warming theory AND Burt Rutan's own conclusions. You don't need to have studied the climate. You just need to know how to read a graph. The entire point of science is not authority, but the ability of anyone to independently reproduce results of theories to test them. In this case, the test is data analysis. No extra tools required.

Finally I'll ask that we keep it cordial. Anyone that wants to call people skeptic of global warming "Greedy Earth-hating Nazis", please go away. Likewise for those who want to call people convinced of global warming "Earth-loving alarmist hippies." This also goes for personal attacks on Burt Rutan's intelligence, qualifications, motives, or his mother. Simply review and comment on the data he provides and his conclusions that follow.

Furthermore, I would like this topic to remain focused on his analysis, dealing only with the data he uses or references, and where he may be correct or incorrect with his conclusions. Outside references can be helpful, but can derail the topic into talking about entirely separate reports and articles.

This should be fun!

Link to his website (includes very interesting presentation in 4 parts on youtube at bottom, as well as links to other things of note):
http://rps3.com/Pages/Burt_Rutan_on_Climate_Change.htm
Link to Specific Power Point (2rd link from top on site):
http://rps3.com/Files/AGW/EngrCritique.AGW-Science.v4.3.pptx


Introduction:
Burt Rutan's comprehensive report on Global Warming science fraud:
Version 4.3 dated January, 2011
This report includes many all-new data presentations and focuses on presenting climate data to Inform, rather than to Scare. Not a climate science reference, but a unique perspective - An engineering critique of the activist climate scientists and their process of data gathering, processing and presentation. It also has sections on climate adaptation and scientific consensus. No author approvals are required for distribution, please feel free to copy or distribute any part of this report.




I'll also include a link for the first of 4 part youtube video; a presentation by Bob Carter. While I'd like the discussion focused on the Power Point alone, this individual talks about a lot of the same data. Since this presentation is being reviewed by you without the benefit of the presenter, this string of videos may help you understand what he is specifically talking about and trying to address in the Power Point.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOLkze-9GcI&feature=channel



Have at it!

*Edit added to give initial premise of topic; namely Burt Rutan's paraphrased conclusions.

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Re: Anthropogenic Global Warming: Engineering review(Burt Ru

Postby BattleMoose » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:17 pm UTC

Okay, I'll bite.

Slide 2, is completely irrelevant, so nothing to say about that.

Slide 3, nothing claimed or anything worth being said so no response. (Except some exceptional engineering hubris that actually is all over the presentation.)

Slide 4, then there was this gem.

The "hockey stick‟ data presentation shown here is no longer used, even by the UN, since it has been shown to be fraudulent.


The "hockey stick data" is still used and is an important part of the body of knowledge, it was the first quantitative hemispheric-scale reconstruction of temperature back to 1400. It is still used by the UN and is even referenced in the IPPC Fourth Assessment Report. Which was well after all the controversy.

Further, it was examined by the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) who reported "Academy affirms hockey-stick graph. But it criticizes the way the controversial climate result was used."

Similarly, Roger A. Pielke, Jr. said that the National Research Council publication constituted a "near-complete vindication for the work of Mann et al."

If you are interested in the actually report, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v4 ... 1032a.html

It is extremely exceptional for a piece of work to be as scrutinized as this, but it has been and it was found to be good.

And it certainly is not fraudulent.

Calling it fraudulent is an exceptional claim made without any supporting evidence or even supporting arguments.

This guy is downright lying to anyone who is going to bother to read that presentation. And this is where I stop reading. And hope everyone else does too.

Also, we have a climate change thread here and we do not start new random threads because we feel that our contribution is so important it needs its whole new pretty thread.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby yurell » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:13 am UTC

Xylos, looking at that you may as well link to one of Lord Monkton's presentation. What he's presenting is simply not true, and he never had any intention of judging the facts objectively and fairly.
cemper93 wrote:Dude, I just presented an elaborate multiple fraction in Comic Sans. Who are you to question me?


Pronouns: Feminine pronouns please!

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Re: Anthropogenic Global Warming: Engineering review(Burt Ru

Postby adho » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:49 am UTC

Xylos wrote:as presented by Climate scientists and independently reviewed by an engineer

Xylos wrote:independently reviewed by an engineer

Xylos wrote:reviewed by an engineer

Xylos wrote:engineer

Great. :|

Edit: I got to slide 7 and this came up.
We now know that the Ozone changes were not caused by human CFCs

Alright, I'm not even going to bother with this.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Inglonias » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:16 pm UTC

US science official says more extreme events convincing many Americans climate change is real

Considering the recent Derecho we had in the DC area, the wildfires in Colorado, the extreme heat records being broken throughout the United States, I feel like I'm beginning to completely lose it. I'm flat out panicking about climate change now, because the fact that it feels like all this is happening now makes me feel as though it is too late to do anything. Combined with the feedback effects such as melting permafrost releasing methane, I'm seeing articles that say that a nontrivial fraction of the world will be completely uninhabitable within the next 1 - 3 centuries...

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:34 pm UTC

A nontrivial portion of the earth already is uninhabitable. The Sahara is huge. Like, Canada huge. The irony? During the warm periods the weather patterns bring in more rain, turning it into a wetland. So it's not like the entire planet will turn into Dune, but the shift in climate will drastically affect what regions can grow which crops. Which can be an issue as we adjust. Anyway, Canada, Russia, most of Europe, and the US should do just fine. Everyone else? Not so much...

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby Inglonias » Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:39 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:A nontrivial portion of the earth already is uninhabitable. The Sahara is huge. Like, Canada huge. The irony? During the warm periods the weather patterns bring in more rain, turning it into a wetland. So it's not like the entire planet will turn into Dune, but the shift in climate will drastically affect what regions can grow which crops. Which can be an issue as we adjust. Anyway, Canada, Russia, most of Europe, and the US should do just fine. Everyone else? Not so much...


I wish I could believe that climate change were that simple.

Although I admit that I completely forgot about deserts being uninhabitable. Flat out. I feel less panicky now, and more stupid.

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Re: Climate Change / Global Warming

Postby pizzazz » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:06 am UTC

Yeah, the fraction of the Earth that is inhabitable is... tiny.

Here's an exercise (condensed) from an old book I had to picture this: take an apple. This represents the earth. Quarter it and set aside 3 quarters; these are oceans (going by surface area). Long story short, the peel of 1/16 (!) of the apple is the portion of the Earth that we can grow food on--a small piece of crust, at most maybe a few miles deep.

I think many people's perception of how much of the Earth is usable is skewed because most people tend to live in such places (obviously). The American coasts and western Europe, for example, are full of developed population centers, and have mild climate. Not so many people live in the Antarctic, Sahara, Atacama, Gobi, Australian outback, Himalayas, Rockies, Andes, or vast northern tundras of Russia and Canada.


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