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Thread: Global Warming







Post#1 at 12-12-2006 01:20 AM by Tristan [at Melbourne, Australia joined Oct 2003 #posts 1,249]
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Global Warming

Here is my $0.02 cents on global warming. While my estimates are on the conservative side (mean warming of 1.5-2C in the next 100 years), however the rises in temperatures will not be gradual but rather sudden. I think in 1998 we went through one, as a result much needed winter rainfall in Southern Australia has decreased by 20%, which is a factor behind the worst drought in recorded history we are experiencing here.

This 4T coming up will have this as a major issues.

Humans have had an impact on the global greenhouse emissions since the beginnings of agriculture, the clearing of forests for grazing, the planting of crops and the methane coming from livestock. Probably resulted in temperatures in the last few thousand years being a little higher than they have should be.

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/...732281706.html

Since the industral revolution Co2 levels have risen from 280 parts per million to 370-380 parts per million, a more than 35% increase. Given the rise in Co2 levels in the amosphere the warming should have been more than 0.6C mean recorded globally since 1850. There is a thing called global dimming, which is caused by aerosols being poured into the amosphere as a result of industry, which reflected sunlight and limited the extent of warming caused by rising Co2 levels. The level of aerosols have decreased in the developed world, could be rising in the fast industralising countries like China and India although.

If we contiude business as usual in regard to greenhouse emissions, globally temperatures will warm to levels which were seen 120,000 years ago during the last intergalacial. When temperatures globally were 1-2C warmer than today. Back then sea levels were 5-8 meters higher than today, forests grew as far north as North Cape, Norway which is now Tundra, trees like Oak and Hazel grew as far north as Oulu in Finland which is at 65N. Also the forest-priare boundary was where Fort Lubbock, Texas is today, instead of Dallas.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eemian_interglacial

I dunno if the climate modern similar to the Pilocene period around 5-2 million years ago would be apporiate because back then the straits of panama, allowed the gulf stream to go into the arctic ocean because the ocean salinity levels were lower. That would have resulted in huge temperature increases in North America, Northern Eurasia, plus a stronger monsoon in Africa and Eurasia, meaning the Arctic ocean was ice free in summer, Greenland was tundra and boreal forest, the sahara and arabian deserts were grasslands and trees grew right up to the arctic ocean.

Overall I think global greenhouse levels will reach to around 560 parts per million, literally a doubling since the beginning of the industral age. That is given a business as usual approach, greenhouse emissions will peak once the all the countries of the world become economically developed as western countries are now.

For example a Co2 level some 100 parts per million lower than pre-industral levels, maybe resulted in temperatures globally 5C cooler than present, however the milankovitch cycle where the earth's axis shifts, which is linked to glacial and interglacial contributed greatly to those lower temperatures.

My rough estimate is as co2 levels in the amosphere reach levels double pre-industral levels, mean global temperatures will rise by 1.5 to 2C. But the effects will be not evenly distrubted in North America temperatures will rise by 3-4C on average. Boston would have a climate like Baltimore, some places will get wetter, some places will get drier.

A sudden warming of the earth's climate would be a disaster, because global agriculture depends on a stable climate and if the climate patterns were to suddenly shift, some places will face ruin and until the agricultural zones of the world shift, agricultural yeilds will crash.

This is quite potentially scary stuff, greenhouse emissions must be reduced post haste to avoid these things from happening, however we have to develop ways of reducing greenhouse emissions which do not reduce living standards or economic growth.

I'm in favor of widespread use of nuclear power (replacing fossil fuels), diverting of subsides for fossil to subsides for solar energy, development of nuclear fusion and compressed air engines which run on electricity.







Post#2 at 12-12-2006 03:47 AM by Mr. Reed [at Intersection of History joined Jun 2001 #posts 4,376]
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I'm still relatively skeptical of global warming. Yeah, the Earth may be warming, but I have my doubts that humans are to blame for it. I think that Earth warms and cools in cycles. The Medieval Warm Period was still far warmer than today, by up to 2C. Right after that was the Little Ice Age when temperatures dropped to -2C colder globally than today. We may simply be recovering from the Little Ice Age.
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Post#3 at 12-12-2006 05:08 AM by Zarathustra [at Where the Northwest meets the Southwest joined Mar 2003 #posts 9,198]
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Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Reed View Post
The Medieval Warm Period was still far warmer than today, by up to 2C.
I get conflicting information on that. I've seen what you've said, usually quoted by those who debunk GW. And I've seen it said, more often, that what we have going on now is already significantly higher than anything seen in the Medieval Warm Period. The latter is typical of GW alerters.

How is one to figure this all out?
Americans have had enough of glitz and roar . . Foreboding has deepened, and spiritual currents have darkened . . .
THE FOURTH TURNING IS AT HAND.
See T4T, p. 253.







Post#4 at 12-12-2006 01:06 PM by herbal tee [at joined Dec 2005 #posts 7,116]
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Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
I get conflicting information on that. I've seen what you've said, usually quoted by those who debunk GW. And I've seen it said, more often, that what we have going on now is already significantly higher than anything seen in the Medieval Warm Period. The latter is typical of GW alerters.

How is one to figure this all out?
The way I look at it, if we assume that climate change is happening due to human activities and take steps to clean up the scorce of these changes, we end up with a less polluted world even if we're wrong. What's so bad about that?

OTOH, if we assume that we're not causing a problem and we're wrong, we're dead.







Post#5 at 12-12-2006 06:51 PM by Bob Butler 54 [at Cove Hold, Carver, MA joined Jul 2001 #posts 6,431]
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If global warming happens smoothly by about the same amount everywhere, I'd feel more comfortable. Alas, there are some non-linear effects that might contribute strange factors.

Ice melting in Canada and Siberia is freshening the Arctic Ocean, and may block a crucial mechanism which drives the Gulf Stream. This would mean that much of the heat currently transferred north from the equator would remain in the south. Some scientists think this effect in the past has flip flopped all the way from global warming into an ice age. If a cooler north results in year long snow cover reflecting light back into space, we might be going cold.

Others are concerned about global dimming. Pollution has multiple components. The greenhouse gasses are keeping heat in. Particular pollutants are boosting the among of clouds and haze, reflecting sunlight back into space. Currently, the greenhouse effect is stronger than the dimming effect, resulting in increasing temperatures.

But China and India are beginning to recognize the health effects of pollution, and are starting to clean up their smokestacks. If Asia follows the same development pattern as Europe and America, this could result in a significant decrease in global dimming while global warming is still rising.

Fluctuations in global warming and dimming effect the location of the monsoon bands near the equator. As the Earth orbits, the bulk of its head goes south for half the year, then comes north for the other half. This head causes evaporation, which forms the monsoon bands and triggers hurricanes / typhoons. A few decades back, when the Northern Hemisphere's particulate emissions were highest, the max of the global dimming effect in the north, the monsoon ring didn't come north for a decade or so, resulting in sub Saharan drought and famine. As China and Indian first industrialize then put scrubbers on their stacks, further alterations to the monsoon patterns seem likely.

Then there is the melting of the tundra. By some accounts, a whole lot of methane, a greenhouse gas, is held frozen in the permafrost. If the permafrost melts, which seems likely given how the glaciers are melting, we could get another sudden release of greenhouse gas.

There is also methane stored in the deep sea which could be released with warming. Some scientists believe at least one of Earth's several historical extinctions resulted from a bacteria that thrives in warm water. It releases large amounts of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, leading to a form of stinky extinction on both land and sea.

And who knows when a big volcano might kick a bunch of dust into the air. By some accounts, the peak of the Little Ice age was caused by Krakatoa going off big time, with an explosion which made the historical 19th century blast seem a bit tame. Kick that much dust in the air, and you have a global dimming effect, leading to cooling. Krakatoa is also a relatively tame volcanic site when compared to what Yellowstone might do.

In short, lots of stuff is going on. Stuff is happening. We don't know enough about what is happening, but the potential for a Malthusian collapse is real. I feel very impatient with the deniers, but at the same time I don't think we have a full understanding of what is likely to happen if we either act or don't act.







Post#6 at 12-12-2006 10:59 PM by Finch [at In the belly of the Beast joined Feb 2004 #posts 1,734]
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Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
I get conflicting information on that. I've seen what you've said, usually quoted by those who debunk GW. And I've seen it said, more often, that what we have going on now is already significantly higher than anything seen in the Medieval Warm Period. The latter is typical of GW alerters.
Well, here is the data from the NOAA, which I consider fairly credible:



And 2005 exceeded 1998.
Yes we did!







Post#7 at 12-12-2006 11:29 PM by Odin [at Moorhead, MN, USA joined Sep 2006 #posts 14,442]
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Quote Originally Posted by Finch View Post
Well, here is the data from the NOAA, which I consider fairly credible:



And 2005 exceeded 1998.
Unfortunatly the Denialists ignore the Hockey Stick Graph because (in thier deluded minds) "everyone knows the Medeival Warm Period was this huge climatic event." Thier circular reasoning is pathetic.
To recommend thrift to the poor is both grotesque and insulting. It is like advising a man who is starving to eat less.

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Post#8 at 12-13-2006 03:44 AM by Zarathustra [at Where the Northwest meets the Southwest joined Mar 2003 #posts 9,198]
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My best friend still does not believe in GW, let alone anthropogenic warming. For example, he claims that the way we acquired global temperatures changed about 100 years ago from tree ring analysis to air temperature. Being an actuary he has a lot of experience with statistics and he says he is very, very suspicious about how GW seems to begin about the same time the change in the data gathering method occurred.

Of interest to me though, is how current readings are now even outside (i.e., above) of the margin of error for the previous method.

I have another good friend who scoffs at anthropogenic factors for GW because he says water vapor plays a much bigger role in greenhouse effects than carbon dioxide does.

What I try to explain to him is that, as a result of studying ice cores, we know that CO2 levels are higher than any time in the past 600,000 years (which is as far back as the ice coring can go). What's worse, the ice cores show CO2 staying in a range of 170 ppm-280 ppm over that entire period. Right before the Industrial Revolution it was already at the upper end of that, being 270 ppm. Now it's, what?, 380?!?!

It is my understanding that CO2 levels have been dropping for the past 40 million years due to the Himalayas and the Andes creating more surface area for carbon scrubbing. Apparently we dropped below a threshold 15 million years ago when the great single rainforest that stretched from west Africa to Indonesia broke in the middle and separated into retreating patches due to a cooling and drying of the Earth. And about 1.6 million years ago we passed another threshold that allowed the Milankovitch cycles to cause ice ages.

If CO2 levels were where they were at for the past 600,000 years, then it is not hyperbolic to conclude that levels are higher now than they've been in millions of years. And given the greenhouse leverage CO2 has it would follow that we are creating conditions that may very well heat the planet up to temperatures we have not seen in a long time.

Am I missing something?
Americans have had enough of glitz and roar . . Foreboding has deepened, and spiritual currents have darkened . . .
THE FOURTH TURNING IS AT HAND.
See T4T, p. 253.







Post#9 at 12-13-2006 12:18 PM by Tom Mazanec [at NE Ohio 1958 joined Sep 2001 #posts 1,511]
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There was a scene in Futurama where Fry (from 2000) says "glad global warming did not happen" and Leela (in 3000) replies "it did, but fortunately nuclear winter canceled it out."
http://www.nature.com/news/2006/0612.../061211-5.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6169717.stm







Post#10 at 12-13-2006 01:49 PM by Bob Butler 54 [at Cove Hold, Carver, MA joined Jul 2001 #posts 6,431]
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Quote Originally Posted by Tom Mazanec View Post
There was a scene in Futurama where Fry (from 2000) says "glad global warming did not happen" and Leela (in 3000) replies "it did, but fortunately nuclear winter canceled it out."
I vaguely remember picking up a copy of Popular Mechanics, which featured proposals for manipulating global climate. On project featured giant orbiting solar panels that reduced sunlight reaching the Earth. Another proposed building floating scrubber factories which remove greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere. There were I believe ten proposals ranked for effectiveness, cost and risk. There were no magic bullets, low cost low risk miracle producers.

Nuclear Winter was not one of the proposals.

Cycle theory wise, this does feel like the sort of infrastructure building project that might happen in a first turning. Other than that one article, I've seen no serious proposals (other than cutting pollution) to actively address climate change. Right now, though, we don't have the political will or scientific clarity to move in this direction. None the less, major steps could be taken.







Post#11 at 12-13-2006 01:57 PM by Marx & Lennon [at '47 cohort still lost in Falwelland joined Sep 2001 #posts 16,709]
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Quote Originally Posted by herbal tee View Post
The way I look at it, if we assume that climate change is happening due to human activities and take steps to clean up the scorce of these changes, we end up with a less polluted world even if we're wrong. What's so bad about that?

OTOH, if we assume that we're not causing a problem and we're wrong, we're dead.
My view exactly, and I'm not a true believer in human-caused global warming. I do believe we're making it much worse. From another perspective, combatting GW can be a great growth industry. Even the capitalists should be backing the fight.
Last edited by Marx & Lennon; 12-13-2006 at 02:03 PM.
Marx: Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
Lennon: You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.







Post#12 at 12-13-2006 09:22 PM by Zarathustra [at Where the Northwest meets the Southwest joined Mar 2003 #posts 9,198]
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Quote Originally Posted by Marx & Lennon View Post
My view exactly, and I'm not a true believer in human-caused global warming. I do believe we're making it much worse. From another perspective, combatting GW can be a great growth industry. Even the capitalists should be backing the fight.
If your pro-choice you may want to make that argument. One argument I used to use when I was pro-life was that if a fetus were not really human, but we outlawed abortion, the result would be some sad situations and a lot more people (for good or ill). BUT, if we a fetus is really human, and we did not outlaw abortion, the result would be mass murder.

Though I still appreciate the logic, I don't think of it in these terms anymore. Using this type of logic can be slippery.
Americans have had enough of glitz and roar . . Foreboding has deepened, and spiritual currents have darkened . . .
THE FOURTH TURNING IS AT HAND.
See T4T, p. 253.







Post#13 at 12-13-2006 11:18 PM by Finch [at In the belly of the Beast joined Feb 2004 #posts 1,734]
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Quote Originally Posted by herbal tee View Post
The way I look at it, if we assume that climate change is happening due to human activities and take steps to clean up the scorce of these changes, we end up with a less polluted world even if we're wrong. What's so bad about that?

OTOH, if we assume that we're not causing a problem and we're wrong, we're dead.
Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
If your pro-choice you may want to make that argument. One argument I used to use when I was pro-life was that if a fetus were not really human, but we outlawed abortion, the result would be some sad situations and a lot more people (for good or ill). BUT, if we a fetus is really human, and we did not outlaw abortion, the result would be mass murder.

Though I still appreciate the logic, I don't think of it in these terms anymore. Using this type of logic can be slippery.
Yes, it's a logical fallacy, but not the one you mention. Instead, it's a variant of Pascal's Wager, wherein an infinite weight is assigned to one possible outcome to "fix" the result. The argument thus becomes an appeal to emotion thinly disguised as game theory. It's risible when applied to theology (if there is an omnipotent God who delights in eternal punishment, how the Hell can you appease Her?) It's disingenuous when applied to abortion (since it deliberately avoids any discussion of the possibility that criminalization may not reduce abortion.)

And it's equally ridiculous when used by Global Warming alarmists to argue that We Must Implement My Plan Right Now, or else it will mean the End Of The World. The unavoidable fact is: every possible action, or inaction, has specific costs, because it represents a reallocation of finite resources. Any action to mitigate global warming will cost human lives, right here and now, because instead of saving their lives right now we would instead be investing in saving lives in the future. We can't wiggle out of that dilemma by assigning infinite value to one set of lives over the other.

Meanwhile, pollution from burning coal kills thousands of people each and every day. What other costs are we willing to pay in order to reduce that death rate?

It's high time to face the hard choices with courage instead of mealy-mouthed equivocation. For starters, we can drop the convenient platitudes and sloganeering of the Culture Wars. For example, I'm not "pro-choice", I'm pro-legal-abortion, because I consider it morally superior to the alternative of infanticide. (If you want to argue about that, take it to another thread.)

Similarly, even "global warming" is a feel-good slogan, leading us to think that if we do nothing, perhaps at worst Cleveland will eventually look like Palm Springs. (More likely, Palm Springs will eventually look like New Orleans post-Katrina.) The correct term, used by reality-based organizations from the UK Chancellor's Office to the Pentagon, is "catastrophic climate change."

Feel better now?
Yes we did!







Post#14 at 12-14-2006 04:48 PM by Zarathustra [at Where the Northwest meets the Southwest joined Mar 2003 #posts 9,198]
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Quote Originally Posted by Finch View Post
Yes, it's a logical fallacy, but not the one you mention. Instead, it's a variant of Pascal's Wager, wherein an infinite weight is assigned to one possible outcome to "fix" the result. The argument thus becomes an appeal to emotion thinly disguised as game theory. It's risible when applied to theology (if there is an omnipotent God who delights in eternal punishment, how the Hell can you appease Her?) It's disingenuous when applied to abortion (since it deliberately avoids any discussion of the possibility that criminalization may not reduce abortion.)

And it's equally ridiculous when used by Global Warming alarmists to argue that We Must Implement My Plan Right Now, or else it will mean the End Of The World. The unavoidable fact is: every possible action, or inaction, has specific costs, because it represents a reallocation of finite resources. Any action to mitigate global warming will cost human lives, right here and now, because instead of saving their lives right now we would instead be investing in saving lives in the future. We can't wiggle out of that dilemma by assigning infinite value to one set of lives over the other.

Meanwhile, pollution from burning coal kills thousands of people each and every day. What other costs are we willing to pay in order to reduce that death rate?

It's high time to face the hard choices with courage instead of mealy-mouthed equivocation. For starters, we can drop the convenient platitudes and sloganeering of the Culture Wars. For example, I'm not "pro-choice", I'm pro-legal-abortion, because I consider it morally superior to the alternative of infanticide. (If you want to argue about that, take it to another thread.)

Similarly, even "global warming" is a feel-good slogan, leading us to think that if we do nothing, perhaps at worst Cleveland will eventually look like Palm Springs. (More likely, Palm Springs will eventually look like New Orleans post-Katrina.) The correct term, used by reality-based organizations from the UK Chancellor's Office to the Pentagon, is "catastrophic climate change."

Feel better now?
Acutally, yes. I agree with everything in your post.
Americans have had enough of glitz and roar . . Foreboding has deepened, and spiritual currents have darkened . . .
THE FOURTH TURNING IS AT HAND.
See T4T, p. 253.







Post#15 at 12-14-2006 11:16 PM by Marx & Lennon [at '47 cohort still lost in Falwelland joined Sep 2001 #posts 16,709]
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Quote Originally Posted by Marx & Lennon View Post
My view exactly, and I'm not a true believer in human-caused global warming. I do believe we're making it much worse. From another perspective, combating GW can be a great growth industry. Even the capitalists should be backing the fight.
Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
If your pro-choice you may want to make that argument. One argument I used to use when I was pro-life was that if a fetus were not really human, but we outlawed abortion, the result would be some sad situations and a lot more people (for good or ill). BUT, if we a fetus is really human, and we did not outlaw abortion, the result would be mass murder.

Though I still appreciate the logic, I don't think of it in these terms anymore. Using this type of logic can be slippery.
Your reference to the abortion debate is a bit off-the-mark. Combating Global Warming, regardless of the cause, is good. We know that the temperature of the earth is moving into uncharted waters (pun intended), and doing what we can to mitigate that has no downside. It will even create a new technology paradigm that we can lead into the future.

More than anything Reagan did as President, the PC revolution jump-started the US economy after years in the doldrums. We need what's next to get it going again. Something beneficial is a plus all around.


I disagree with Finch that this will be a cost burden today for riches gained tomorrow, though. We can expect net benefits almost from the start ... if we the task seriously. For example, cutting oil consumption through the production and subsidized use of renewables, will make the Middle East as lot less important very quickly. We know how to do much of this today. Other, more complex solutions will require us to educate more Americans, and fund research and development programs. We need to do most of this, regardless. Here's a good excuse.
Last edited by Marx & Lennon; 12-14-2006 at 11:29 PM.
Marx: Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
Lennon: You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.







Post#16 at 12-15-2006 01:47 PM by Zarathustra [at Where the Northwest meets the Southwest joined Mar 2003 #posts 9,198]
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Quote Originally Posted by Marx & Lennon View Post
Your reference to the abortion debate is a bit off-the-mark.
I was only pointing out that you were using an argument often used by the "pro-life" position. The logic is faulty in either case. I was recommending that you use another source of support.

Obviously there is no connection between abortion and global warming, except perhaps in HC's pathetic little world where the "liberal mainstream media" is behind it all.
Americans have had enough of glitz and roar . . Foreboding has deepened, and spiritual currents have darkened . . .
THE FOURTH TURNING IS AT HAND.
See T4T, p. 253.







Post#17 at 12-15-2006 06:32 PM by Marx & Lennon [at '47 cohort still lost in Falwelland joined Sep 2001 #posts 16,709]
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Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
I was only pointing out that you were using an argument often used by the "pro-life" position. The logic is faulty in either case. I was recommending that you use another source of support...
Color me dumb, but I missed your point, and still do.
Marx: Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
Lennon: You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.







Post#18 at 12-16-2006 02:58 PM by Zarathustra [at Where the Northwest meets the Southwest joined Mar 2003 #posts 9,198]
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Quote Originally Posted by Marx & Lennon View Post
Color me dumb, but I missed your point, and still do.
Okay, Herbal said:

Quote Originally Posted by herbal tee View Post
The way I look at it, if we assume that climate change is happening due to human activities and take steps to clean up the scorce of these changes, we end up with a less polluted world even if we're wrong. What's so bad about that?

OTOH, if we assume that we're not causing a problem and we're wrong, we're dead.
To which you replied:

Quote Originally Posted by Marx & Lennon View Post
My view exactly . . .
So I am assuming (incorrectly?) you support the following logic:

If X is prohibited/mitigated, but Y ain't so bad afterall, then Z1 is mixed outcome.

But, if X is not prohibited/mitigated, but Y is unacceptable in the end, then Z2 is an unacceptable outcome.

Y is unknown.

Therefore, logic dictates one prohibits X.

You're pro-choice, right? The pro-lifers very often use the same logic. Plug in the following: X=Abortion, and the answer becomes "clear".

Don't get me wrong. I'm not attacking your or Herbal's position (and most certainly not you two ). I personally believe in global warming and highly suspect anthropogenic causes, and therefore support doing something radical about it on our end. I am also in between the pure "pro-life" and "pro-choice" positions, as are most Americans.

It's just that I was once "pro-life" and used the logic above. I know how convincing it can sound, but it obviously oversimplifies the issue. I just recommend not doing the same with global warming.
Americans have had enough of glitz and roar . . Foreboding has deepened, and spiritual currents have darkened . . .
THE FOURTH TURNING IS AT HAND.
See T4T, p. 253.







Post#19 at 12-18-2006 10:26 PM by plonk77 [at joined Dec 2006 #posts 13]
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Quote Originally Posted by Marx & Lennon View Post
Combating Global Warming, regardless of the cause, is good. We know that the temperature of the earth is moving into uncharted waters (pun intended), and doing what we can to mitigate that has no downside.
I agree that combating global warming is for the good, and necessary to the survival of industrial civilization. However, to argue that there is no downside is utter nonsense. Decreasing the amount of carbon emitted by industrial countries by enough to reverse recent trends will require the retooling or replacement of trillions of dollars of existing infrastructure. That cost will have to be paid. A 1T society can probably see through to making that investment, but I can't see a society in any other stage being willing to bear that heavy of a burden.

I disagree with Finch that this will be a cost burden today for riches gained tomorrow, though. We can expect net benefits almost from the start ... if we the task seriously. For example, cutting oil consumption through the production and subsidized use of renewables, will make the Middle East as lot less important very quickly.
What about the cost of replacing or retooling the infrastructure built around oil consumption? That stuff wasn't free to build, and reworking or replacing it before its expected end of life is a loss of at least part of the remaining value in that infrastructure. Changing course is a good idea, but pretending that it is without cost is idiotic.

The way I see it, given the current state of the science, is that the probability of catastropic climate change, assuming status quo ante, is pretty damn close to one. The costs it will impose are not well-quantified, but will almost certainly be very large. The expected cost of doing nothing are therefore also very large. Since the expected cost of doing nothing is very large, it is reasonable to take on very large costs in an attempt to head off climate change. Taking them on may have additional direct benefits, and they should be taken into account to the extent that they can be considered reasonably certain to come about. Overall, the prudent thing to do is to take major action to head off global warming, because the expected benefits of that course outweigh the expected costs.







Post#20 at 12-19-2006 12:34 PM by Marx & Lennon [at '47 cohort still lost in Falwelland joined Sep 2001 #posts 16,709]
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Quote Originally Posted by Zarathustra View Post
... So I am assuming (incorrectly?) you support the following logic:

If X is prohibited/mitigated, but Y ain't so bad afterall, then Z1 is mixed outcome.

But, if X is not prohibited/mitigated, but Y is unacceptable in the end, then Z2 is an unacceptable outcome.

Y is unknown.

Therefore, logic dictates one prohibits X.

You're pro-choice, right? The pro-lifers very often use the same logic. Plug in the following: X=Abortion, and the answer becomes "clear".

Don't get me wrong. I'm not attacking your or Herbal's position (and most certainly not you two ). I personally believe in global warming and highly suspect anthropogenic causes, and therefore support doing something radical about it on our end. I am also in between the pure "pro-life" and "pro-choice" positions, as are most Americans.

It's just that I was once "pro-life" and used the logic above. I know how convincing it can sound, but it obviously oversimplifies the issue. I just recommend not doing the same with global warming.
OK, point well taken. There are, in both cases, other issues that are dependent on the X-factor.

In the case of abortion, there is the the health and well-being of the mother. This is actually the point where my decision tree begins and ends. There are two issues:
  • VESTED RIGHTS: We have a fully sentient person (the pregnant woman) and a diminished though developing consciousness in-utero. The woman starts with a full set of vested rights based on her status. This applies to a 'woman' that happens to be legally underage, too. That status doesn't change. The fetus starts with no vested rights, as an egg, and develops rights as maturation procedes. At some point the contention of rights should limit the actions the mother can take in violation of the rights of the fetus.
  • VIABILITY: The fetus, for most of its maturation period, is incapable of living outside the mother's womb. At some point, technical skill makes it possible for a very premature infant to live ex-utero.
So, IMNSHO, the determination of "abortion rights" should be limited by those two factors. There are cases that make for difficult decisions, but the 3rd trimester is pretty much a no abortion zone, unless the woman's health is directly affected or the fetus is damaged and is hence not viable. The 1st trimester is in the oppostie camp, with a non-viable and virtually non-vested fetus.

Applying this same logic to GW is almost impossible, but I'm sure it happens ... at some level.
Marx: Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
Lennon: You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.







Post#21 at 12-19-2006 12:56 PM by Marx & Lennon [at '47 cohort still lost in Falwelland joined Sep 2001 #posts 16,709]
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Quote Originally Posted by Marx & Lennon View Post
... Combating Global Warming, regardless of the cause, is good. We know that the temperature of the earth is moving into uncharted waters (pun intended), and doing what we can to mitigate that has no downside.
Quote Originally Posted by plonk77 View Post
I agree that combating global warming is for the good, and necessary to the survival of industrial civilization. However, to argue that there is no downside is utter nonsense. Decreasing the amount of carbon emitted by industrial countries by enough to reverse recent trends will require the retooling or replacement of trillions of dollars of existing infrastructure. That cost will have to be paid. A 1T society can probably see through to making that investment, but I can't see a society in any other stage being willing to bear that heavy of a burden.
In real terms, the cost of World War Two was enormous, yet it kick-started the US economy by generating demand and employing the resources and people of the country in meeting it. What I'm suggesting is even better, because the technology and infrastructure that gets built to support an energy paradigm shift is directly applicable to everyday life, unlike the building of war material. Once we build it, we use it to our benefit.

There will need to be some delay of gratification. Maybe that's sacrifice in these times.

Quote Originally Posted by Marx & Lennon View Post
... I disagree with Finch that this will be a cost burden today for riches gained tomorrow, though. We can expect net benefits almost from the start ... if we the task seriously. For example, cutting oil consumption through the production and subsidized use of renewables, will make the Middle East as lot less important very quickly.
Quote Originally Posted by plonk77 View Post
... What about the cost of replacing or retooling the infrastructure built around oil consumption? That stuff wasn't free to build, and reworking or replacing it before its expected end of life is a loss of at least part of the remaining value in that infrastructure. Changing course is a good idea, but pretending that it is without cost is idiotic.
There is a difference between end-of-life and end-of-economic-life. For example, a coal-burning plant that is polluting is profitable, until it is forced to pay for the damage the pollution costs. Right now, you pay and I pay directly or indirectly.

Quote Originally Posted by plonk77 View Post
... The way I see it, given the current state of the science, is that the probability of catastrophic climate change, assuming status quo ante, is pretty damn close to one. The costs it will impose are not well-quantified, but will almost certainly be very large. The expected cost of doing nothing are therefore also very large. Since the expected cost of doing nothing is very large, it is reasonable to take on very large costs in an attempt to head off climate change. Taking them on may have additional direct benefits, and they should be taken into account to the extent that they can be considered reasonably certain to come about. Overall, the prudent thing to do is to take major action to head off global warming, because the expected benefits of that course outweigh the expected costs.
Remember, the Law if Unintended Consequences works both ways. Sometimes, it's your friend. Europe got their high speed rail by demolishing their previous rail system through war. They have benefited highly.
Marx: Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.
Lennon: You either get tired fighting for peace, or you die.







Post#22 at 02-27-2007 07:26 PM by Neisha '67 [at joined Jul 2001 #posts 2,227]
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Five Western states join forces to limit emissions:

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/orego...770.xml&coll=7







Post#23 at 04-06-2007 05:55 PM by herbal tee [at joined Dec 2005 #posts 7,116]
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California must desalinate water or die of thurst








Post#24 at 04-06-2007 07:24 PM by Mikebert [at Kalamazoo MI joined Jul 2001 #posts 4,502]
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CO2 Projections

I have been engaged in a discussion on this topic at John Reilly's site. It's been a productive discussion and I learned a lot. Here part of a post where I project future CO2 levels.

Quote Originally Posted by Mike Alexander
Global warming theorists say that rising CO2 reflects human addition of CO2 to the atmosphere. Most of this addition comes from burning of fossil fuels for energy production. Thus, if the global warming theorists are correct that rate of CO2 rise ought to correlate with energy production. An interested observer such as myself ought to be able to find evidence for this if they are right.

Here is a plot I made showing CO2 rate of rise and worldwide energy production over the last four decades. It would seem that it does.



I obtained worldwide energy output from British Petroleum's site. I calculate the rate from the Mauna Loa CO2 data using a centered running regression slope. For the ends I used a 5 and 7 year moving period and for the rest I used a 9-year period.

CO2 level at some future date is the present level plus the amount added between now and the future date. This additional amount is the integral of the rise rate between now and the future date. The figure says that future increases in CO2 rise rate should follow future increases in energy production. If r is the growth rate in energy production and the current rise rate in CO2 is 2 ppm/year then future rise rates should be given by:

1. Rise rate = 2 exp(rt) where t is the number of years into the future.

Total CO2 accumulation over this time is obtained by integrating equation 1 from t = 0 to t.

2. CO2 rise = (2/r) [exp(t) Ė 1]

Over the last 40 years the overall rate of growth in world energy production has been 2.5%, while that in the US has been 1.4%. The faster rate for the world as a whole reflects industrialization of developing countries. If your hypothesis is correct and there is nothing to worry about, then we can expect the developing world to continue to develop as they have in the past. US share of world energy production will fall as the developing nations go through their industrial revolutions. Already between 1965 and 2005, the US share of world energy production fell from 34% to 22%, according to the BP data. We can expect this trend to continue until the US share of world energy production approaches the US population share, which is currently 300 million / 6.5 billion = 4.6%.

Let us assume that the entire world is fully developed 100 years from now. We can expect total world energy production to rise from 1/0.22 of US production to 1/0.046 of US production or an increase of 22/4.6 = 4.8-fold. US production should continue to rise at the same 1.4% is has done over the last 40 years. Over 100 years this comes to a 4-fold increase. Combing these so suggests a 4.8 x 4 = 19-fold increase in world energy production over a hundred years or a 2.9% annual rate.

A very conservative assumption would be that the world grows only as fast as the US does, or 1.4%. So we have a range of rates varying from very pessimistic about future growth (1.4%), very optimistic about future growth (2.9%) and continuation of the present trend (2.5%).

After 100 years the three rates give projected levels of 820, 1280, and 1560 ppm. The direct effect of CO2 levels of this level is quite large. How does one know the effect of other factors will be reduce the direct effect of CO2 as opposed to enhance it? So far about 1 F of warming has been observed over the last 100 years. If cooling factors are going to be in play, why aren't they in play now--that is, why hasnít temperature fallen over the last 100 years?
What skeptics don't usually acknowledge is that it is a known fact that greenhouse gases like CO2 have the effect of warming the atmosphere and that more CO2 means a greater warming effect.

The argument is entirely about whether this acknowledged effect will be countered by some other natural process in such a way as to keep warming to acceptable levels.







Post#25 at 04-06-2007 07:29 PM by Bob Butler 54 [at Cove Hold, Carver, MA joined Jul 2001 #posts 6,431]
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Quote Originally Posted by Mikebert View Post
What skeptics don't usually acknowledge is that it is a known fact that greenhouse gases like CO2 have the effect of warming the atmosphere and that more CO2 means a greater warming effect.

The argument is entirely about whether this acknowledged effect will be countered by some other natural process in such a way as to keep warming to acceptable levels.
There is a second level of debate as well. Most are aware of the global warming effect of CO2 and similar greenhouse gasses. Fewer are aware of global dimming. In addition to greenhouse gasses which tend to trap heat inside the atmosphere, particle emissions and jet contrails tend to form clouds and reflect light back into space. This is 'global dimming,' which as a cooling effect. This has been well documented from agricultural records kept on evaporation rates.

This is important because particle emissions are much easier to control than greenhouse gasses. After the 60s awakening brought more ecological concerns to the developing countries, there have been considerable efforts to cut back on black soot release from sources like poorly designed diesel engines and power plants. Developing countries with low concern for pollution will cause more warming than dimming. With ecological awareness, the money is spent cutting dimming first. With less dimming countering the effects of the warming, the effect is actually to increase warming. Thus, arguably, concerns about reducing particle emissions could well end up making the greenhouse heating effects worse.

Some will argue this is why glacier melt and polar ice melt have started accelerating recently. Some suspect that as particle emissions continue to cause health concerns in places like India and China, they will follow the lead of the West, reducing their dimming emissions while expanding their warming emissions.

Meanwhile, the skeptics attempting to refute warming generally totally ignore the effects of dimming...
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