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Global Warming statistic -- any truth ??
Old 06-15-2007, 04:47 PM   #1
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Global Warming statistic -- any truth ??

I was listening to NPR and someone came on who claimed to be an authority (they all think they are) who said that if we did everything possible to cut down on greenhouse emissions... and spent considerable money and focus on it... we would only delay the inevitable by 5 years in the next 100.

His point was: It's too late.
Since the lowlands are all going to flood anyway... it's just a matter of when... why not lobby to spend the money on moving people away from lowland areas? His view is that would be money better spent rather than trying to clean things up now.

That got me thinking about global warming differently.
.. and I just can't let go of the thought if it's true.

.. or is this just another Urban Legend (although I found no reference to it on Snopes).

Any ideas??
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Old 06-15-2007, 05:27 PM   #2
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At the risk of awakening the zeolots, I remember when "all of the experts" were predicting a new ice age coming. We would have to abandon Scandanavia, Canada and most of England. The seas would drop 50 feets as all the worlds moisture was turned into sheets of ice. Salinity would almost double in the oceans killing all sea life. Sound familiar? It's only the mirror image of our current "crisis."

The data supports localized warming trends in certain parts of the world but not the whole world. A "mini-ice age" started about 1200 CE and ended around 1850. In the early 1900's the first notice of higher CO2 levels were noted and the original "global warming" theory was proposed. The proponent of the theory thought it was a good thing for the planet to warm.

Before the "mini-ice age" Greenland was settled by Danish/Viking who raised crops and livestock. The US/Mexico Rio Grande river valley was far wetter than present day and supported a large population of pueblo people. There were productive vinyards well north of London. All this and many more "good things" disappeared during the "mini-ice age" and may return. There may be some coastal impact but I can't imagine the scare scenarios happening.

Our current "solutions" all involve the develped world to transfer their wealth to the developing world who are exempt from any CO2 limitations. The whole subject has taken on the aspects of a "religion" and the faithful are more zealous in persecuting their foes than during the Spanish Inquisition.
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Old 06-15-2007, 07:23 PM   #3
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Simple solution: everyone who wanted to "study the matter further" for the last 7 years gets to move to the houses in the low lying areas. The people currently living in the low lying areas get to live in their houses.

Easy speasy.
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Old 06-15-2007, 08:16 PM   #4
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We humans have very little ability to predict events that can effect climate. With our imperfect knowledge we could undertake a massive effort to prevent global warming through reduction of atmospheric CO2 just before an outbreak of volcanic eruptions puts enough ash into the atmosphere to reduce sunlight reaching the earth significantly. Our actions coupled with nature's unpredicatability could percipitate an ice age. Pick your poison.

I believe we should continue to gather data and study climate variables. We should also take steps to slow the rate of growth of atmospheric CO2 to the extent and at a pace that the world economy can accomodate. However, I don't think it makes sense to embark on a crash effort when we have so little knowledge of many of the earth's processes that might create either positive or negative feedback to what we do.

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Old 06-15-2007, 10:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick S View Post
I was listening to NPR and someone came on who claimed to be an authority (they all think they are) who said that if we did everything possible to cut down on greenhouse emissions... and spent considerable money and focus on it... we would only delay the inevitable by 5 years in the next 100.

His point was: It's too late.
Since the lowlands are all going to flood anyway... it's just a matter of when... why not lobby to spend the money on moving people away from lowland areas? His view is that would be money better spent rather than trying to clean things up now.

That got me thinking about global warming differently.
.. and I just can't let go of the thought if it's true.

.. or is this just another Urban Legend (although I found no reference to it on Snopes).

Any ideas??
That is what I have been able to gather from the the IPCC reports. Not the 5 year delay number exactly, but something similar. I've posted in a couple other threads - if I interpret the IPCC reports correctly, they say that if we do nothing, we get 16.5" of sea level rise over the next 100 years. If we move to a non-fossil fuel economy, we get 13" sea level rise in that time. Those are the middle of the wide ranges they give.

So yes, we are (if the IPCC estimates have any validity) going to experience a lot of change whether we do anything or not. It's not some urban legend, and it's not from some 'out-there' group with an agenda (unless you view the IPCC that way) - these are the numbers from the IPCC, the group that Al Gore refers to when he talks about the 'consensus' among the scientists.


Quote:
That got me thinking about global warming differently.
.. and I just can't let go of the thought if it's true.
Well, as far as I can determine, you are reading it correctly - this does seem to be true (at least if the IPCC is to be believed). So don't let go of the thought. It is what we should be acting on, not necessarily spending billions to reduce carbon output (though I am all for reducing pollution and for conservation). It looks like we better save some of that money for dealing with the crisis that we cannot avoid.

the other thread with references: http://www.early-retirement.org/foru...eal-27395.html

<ummm, that was supposed to be *sea* level rise, not seal level rise.... where's that extended edit function when we need it?>

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPCC_Fo...essment_Report

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special...ions_Scenarios

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Old 06-16-2007, 09:02 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Rick S View Post
I was listening to NPR and someone came on who claimed to be an authority (they all think they are) who said that if we did everything possible to cut down on greenhouse emissions... and spent considerable money and focus on it... we would only delay the inevitable by 5 years in the next 100.
Yes it's true but for a different reason than they say. We can't delay it by even one year. The reason, IMHO, is because GW is not primarily a human caused situation, but one caused by a number of natural phenomena not all of which are well understood, or understood at all. There are many peer reviewed scholarly articles that demonstrate this, but they don't make the popular press or the NPRs.

The data shows we may be approaching the peak of a cyclical warming. Approaching in the sense of maybe a hundred or a few thousand years -- so we are close in a geological sense. After that we may expect relatively rapid cooling as the earth enters into another glacial period.

So, the problems are real, but the causes are politically driven.
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Old 06-16-2007, 10:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
Simple solution: everyone who wanted to "study the matter further" for the last 7 years gets to move to the houses in the low lying areas. The people currently living in the low lying areas get to live in their houses.

Easy speasy.
CFB, did you even read the OP?

The person quoted is not saying that Global Warming is not occurring, he did not say there won't be flooding - just the opposite:

Quote:
Since the lowlands are all going to flood anyway... it's just a matter of when...
He is saying that, at this point, it appears that any changes we make to our carbon footprint will not have a very significant impact on the *amount* of flooding (or the timing of it, to take a slightly different angle). That is what I get from the IPCC reports also.

This is not a 'head in the sand' reaction to Global Warming, it seems to be a more realistic evaluation of what we can do to respond to the anticipated changes.

Rather than accuse anyone with a somewhat un-popular view as having their head in the sand, I tend to look at the 'screw in a CFL and drive a hybrid and the problem is solved' crowd as 'wishing on a star'. CFLs and Hybrids are fine, but not a 'solution' to flooding from Global Warming (if the estimates are correct - who knows at this point?).

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Old 06-16-2007, 10:56 AM   #8
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Even the sea level increase forecast is the subject of some speculation. Warming oceans release CO2. They also release water vapour. More clouds can lead to more snowfall. There is evidence of increasing snowpack in Antarctica. Increasing snow pack on land keeps it out of the oceans. Melting ice already in the oceans will not cause any further rise.

They have also reported that the southern ocean is cooling, slowing the release of CO2 naturally. Gore's film showed a 23 foot rise in ocean levels. This has confused many of the viewers. Based on the prices of oceanfront properties, I think most people are not concerned with rising ocean levels.
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Old 06-16-2007, 12:39 PM   #9
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Yes it's true but for a different reason than they say. We can't delay it by even one year. The reason, IMHO, is because GW is not primarily a human caused situation, but one caused by a number of natural phenomena not all of which are well understood, or understood at all. There are many peer reviewed scholarly articles that demonstrate this, but they don't make the popular press or the NPRs.

There's a paradox in the above, but I'll leave that for the reader.

It is too late, by some measures, but I'll echo ERD. There are plenty of pollutants that we can decrease. Everyone driving 1985 diesels would make for poor, and unhealthy, living conditions.
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Old 06-16-2007, 01:18 PM   #10
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There's a paradox in the above, but I'll leave that for the reader.
Dont confuse lack of understanding with lack of predictive ability. We don't understand exactly the way nonlinear dynamic feedback systems behave but we can predict that a sunny day will change to a rainy day within a certain time period with a certain probability. This is the way it is with climate studies. The global climate is an extremely complex dynamic system and we know that it exhibits chaotic behavior that leads to cyclical warming and cooling periods. But exactly how that works nobody yet knows ... not even those who claim they do understand it and CO2 is the culprit. The best data shows that CO2 does increase with global avg temperature but it's only a correlation between two data sets, not causality, and CO2 appears to lag temperature by a bit. There's a lot of science and non-science in this, but what gets in the press is what is in political favor and what gets funding.
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Old 06-16-2007, 01:30 PM   #11
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But exactly how that works nobody yet knows ... not even those who claim they do understand it and CO2 is the culprit.
Let's see...

Forum posters, bloggers, and Michael Crichton claiming that AGW is a conspiracy by Al Gore and environmentalists.

vs.

The IPCC and various national scientific groups.


Hmmm.
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Old 06-16-2007, 01:57 PM   #12
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CO2 having a warming effect is basic chemistry. Very well understood.
How all of the feedback loops work in concert with each other is not well understood. There are a number of theories and some speculation and a whole lot of 'we understand generally how it works, but not all of the specifics'.
The fact that we are adding much more co2 into the atmosphere is well understood and documented. We also have good documentation that there is more co2 being pumped into the atmosphere than the earth's natural ability to absorb that co2, thus we get higher concentrations in the atmospher and oceans.
The only economic crisis will be to those companies that rely an adding more co2 to the atmospher and refuse to advance their technology towards using cleaner fuels.
For the average joe, replace a few bulbs with CFBs (no, not cute fuzzy bunny) and you have contributed to helping.

And yes, it is too late to completely eliminate the effects of GW, but not to late to mitigate the effects. I am just glad I don't have kids that will have to deal with our mess.
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Old 06-16-2007, 01:57 PM   #13
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My opinions:

Regional increasing temperatures are real. World-wide increasing temperatures may or may not be real. You still can't grow wheat in Greenland the way the Vikings did 1000 years ago.

Is any of this caused by people? Americans? Republicans? Evil capitalists? Globalization? Deforestation? I don't think so.

I seriously doubt that people trying to reduce CO2 generation will have much effect. Volcanoes have pumped unbelievable amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, far more than us burning trees and gasoline ever could.

The wobble of the earth on its axis seems to have a huge effect, too.

Like Jacques Cousteau, I am far more worried about the destruction of life in the seas. Overfishing and pollution are killing the seas and we can do something about that. In fact, the Great Satan (the USA) is doing more to control overfishing and pollution than anybody.

Gypsy out.
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Old 06-16-2007, 02:01 PM   #14
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Ed: I seriously doubt that people trying to reduce CO2 generation will have much effect. Volcanoes have pumped unbelievable amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, far more than us burning trees and gasoline ever could.
This misinformation just keeps going and going.
All the volcanoes in the world, in an average year, contribute less than 1% of the amount of co2 that mankind puts in the atmosphere.
**************************************************
Reference:Volcanic Hazards: Gases (sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide, hyrdogen chloride, and hydrogen fluoride)
Comparison of CO2 emissions from volcanoes vs. human activities.
Scientists have calculated that volcanoes emit between about 130-230 million tonnes (145-255 million tons) of CO2 into the atmosphere every year (Gerlach, 1999, 1991). This estimate includes both subaerial and submarine volcanoes, about in equal amounts. Emissions of CO2 by human activities, including fossil fuel burning, cement production, and gas flaring, amount to about 27 billion tonnes per year (30 billion tons) [ ( Marland, et al., 2006) - The reference gives the amount of released carbon (C), rather than CO2, through 2003.]. Human activities release more than 130 times the amount of CO2 emitted by volcanoes--the equivalent of more than 8,000 additional volcanoes like Kilauea (Kilauea emits about 3.3 million tonnes/year)! (Gerlach et. al., 2002)
********************************************
Yes, I suppose if we had a supervolcano go off it would belch out a lot more, but I think we would have other things to worry about at that time
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Old 06-16-2007, 06:13 PM   #15
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CFB, did you even read the OP?

Can someone let me know how many winkies one needs to put at the end of a joke before the most severe tightasses dont take it seriously?
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Old 06-16-2007, 07:04 PM   #16
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Can someone let me know how many winkies one needs to put at the end of a joke before the most severe tightasses dont take it seriously?
You're dealing with zealots. I'm wondering about the "...basic chemistry. Very well understood" part since I've had about as much chemistry as anyone can stand and don't understand. The whole part about CO2 being a "greenhouse gas" is part of the "theory" that one may not question.

I wonder how much CO2 is given off by the rotting of vegetation going on in the Amazon rainforest. If we burn it all now, wouldn't we be ahead in the long term in regards to total CO2 generation?
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Old 06-16-2007, 07:13 PM   #17
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I guess on a serious note, I'm just amused at the flying flip flop between "there is no global warming" and "well, okay there is, but theres nothing we can do about it".

I suppose theres some consistency in the line of thinking that humans can neither cause nor solve it. But its still good stuff to poke holes into and see what kind of gas seeps out.
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Old 06-16-2007, 10:33 PM   #18
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I usually don't say thing like this but here it goes - I don't think there is anything we can do to stop global warming in any significant way over the next 100 years. The reason is that the population will grow from 6.7 billion to apx 10 billion in the next 50 years. The vast majority of those people will be born in 3rd world countries (not the developed nations)- Africa, Middle East, India, and places we have never considered - Brazilian rain forest for example. These people will be eroding the biosphere that reduces green house gasses. In addition they will be using old technology (produces CO2) for their power needs. Also, they will be adding particulate matter to the atmosphere that also increases the greenhouse effect.
We are are mostly talking about what first world nations will do to stop global warming. But we are not talking about what China (building 2 coal fire plants a week) and third world countries will/can do.
I have not heard one person say - "It is the population explosion, stupid!"
If you overlaid population growth over the chart that has been used for CO2 emissions you would see it is almost a perfect fit. And yet we blame CO2 and not population.

So it is really too late to do anything about it.
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Old 06-16-2007, 10:36 PM   #19
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Can someone let me know how many winkies one needs to put at the end of a joke before the most severe tightasses dont take it seriously?
It's tough to tell what the winkie refers to sometimes - your 'cute use' of the term 'Easy Speasy' or that you thought your response was clever, or what. It's obvious that you thought there was a 'joke' there, not so obvious what the joke was. Seriously, the intended joke did not fit the context of the post, that guy is *not* saying that the lowlands are safe.

Quote:
I guess on a serious note, I'm just amused at the flying flip flop between "there is no global warming" and "well, okay there is, but theres nothing we can do about it".
You are confusing or mingling sources, or something. There is no flip-flop in the sources I reference. My references are to the IPCC reports. They are the ones that both say that global warming is happening, and (while this angle is not picked up on by the media very much) that there is not much we can do about it.

Heres the wiki breakdown, the same info is in the report, a bit more readable here:

Quote:
# Scenario A1T - * A1T - Emphasis on non-fossil energy sources.
* Sea level rise likely range [20 to 45 cm] (8 to 18 inches)


# Scenario A1FI - * A1FI - An emphasis on fossil-fuels.
* Sea level rise likely range [26 to 59 cm] (10 to 23 inches)
What I take from the OP is, that in five years time, the non-fossil scenario would catch up with the fossil scenario. So it maybe buys us a few years out of a hundred years. It is not clear to me that some of the mitigation actions are worth it. Some of the carbon sequestering proposals have other environmental negatives associated with them - may cause more harm than good.

Read it yourself, is there a different conclusion one would come to? If I'm getting it wrong, I'd like to be educated on the subject.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

IPCC Fourth Assessment Report - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Special Report on Emissions Scenarios - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 06-16-2007, 10:49 PM   #20
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The reason is that the population will grow from 6.7 billion to apx 10 billion in the next 50 years. The vast majority of those people will be born in 3rd world countries (not the developed nations)- Africa, Middle East, India, and places we have never considered - Brazilian rain forest for example. These people will be eroding the biosphere that reduces green house gasses. In addition they will be using old technology (produces CO2) for their power needs. Also, they will be adding particulate matter to the atmosphere that also increases the greenhouse effect.

....

I have not heard one person say - "It is the population explosion, stupid!"
If you overlaid population growth over the chart that has been used for CO2 emissions you would see it is almost a perfect fit. And yet we blame CO2 and not population.
Dex, actually, the IPCC is reportedly taking these factors into account in their scenarios:

Quote:
The A1 scenarios are of a more integrated world. The A1 family of scenarios is characterized by:
  • Rapid economic growth.
  • A global population that reaches 9 billion in 2050 and then gradually declines.
  • The quick spread of new and efficient technologies.
  • A convergent world - income and way of life converge between regions. Extensive social and cultural interactions worldwide.
There are subsets to the A1 family based on their technological emphasis:
  • A1FI - An emphasis on fossil-fuels.
  • A1B - A balanced emphasis on all energy sources.
  • A1T - Emphasis on non-fossil energy sources.
Special Report on Emissions Scenarios - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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