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  1. #301  
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    Quote Originally Posted by MeteorWayne View Post
    Once again, wrong. The Arctic has been known for quite a while to be the place where the effects of warming would show first, and the evidence for that is beyond dispute.

    PS, and Arctic ice isn't clear

    Attachment 336
    It's clear that you have a sense of humour though, Meteor. I was saying that arctic ice models have been revised so many times since the warming debate began. At one time they said absence of ice at the North Pole would not be seen for 100 years .. then, voila, a photograph by the Russians of the North Pole clear of ice.
    Last edited by Aristarchus in Exile; January 13th, 2012 at 12:41 PM.
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    Very thin ice at the north pole has happened before, well before the current warming.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/2...-not-so-thick/
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    If you want to know about "before" the current warming, Patrick Lockerby's your man.

    A Brief History Of Arctic Warming

    If you have the patience to look carefully at near incomprehensible satellite photos this one, An Arctic Decade 2001 - 2011 is really good.

    I warn you, I've been following Arctic ice and glacier sites for quite a while and I still have trouble 'seeing' the features that others point out. (At least these photos aren't supposed to be showing cracks in glaciers extending or expanding. They're mostly impossible unless they're spectacular. Perhaps my astigmatism is to blame - or something.)

    Edit: Just found this one. Looks routine until you get halfway down. Some really nifty old maps of ice extent. And a couple of links to othe info.
    Arctic Ice September 2010
    Last edited by adelady; January 13th, 2012 at 04:57 PM.
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    Skeptic - linking to WUWT? Aristarchus isn't exactly giving good information by citing photos of Russian submarines at the North Pole but surely looking to actual science institutions that study polar regions and study the way they respond to climate change would be more appropriate if accurate information is the point - rather than scoring points in a debate.

    Real scientific institutions are much less inclined than a notoriously biased site like WUWT to spin occasional thin ice or ice free pole as indicative of the whole Arctic. WUWT consistently spin cherry picked photos or data points into arguments that what's up with the Arctic and global climate is 'normal' and nothing to be concerned about. The data on the Arctic shows a very real and strong trend, one that has far exceeded earlier predictions.

    The Arctic is more than just a strong indicator of rapid global warming; changes there will impact climate far beyond that region and far into the future. More reason IMO to have strong concerns about long delays before emissions start coming down - which translate into even longer delay before atmospheric concentrations of GHG's begin coming down. The impacts can and already do exceed expectations and the human responses to the ensuing problems are the most problematical aspect. The IPCC and climate science in general is, by it's nature, inclined to underestimate the risks by sticking primarily to those that are quantifiable. Some of the most dangerous elements, the human ones especially, defy quantification whilst leaving open some very dangerous - yet very real - possibilities. Delay is not our friend.
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; January 13th, 2012 at 05:13 PM. Reason: bad grammer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Skeptic - linking to WUWT?
    Sure, I agree that is not a good site, but it is what I found in a quick google search. The basic point is that Arctic sea ice has been very thin long before the current period. I am old enough to remember the early nuclear submarine visits to the North Pole. They had no trouble breaking through the ice to surface, which they could not have done if the ice had any appreciable thickness.

    This is something that is often carefully overlooked in some of the more alarmist presentations. The melting of Arctic sea ice during the Arctic summer is probably the most quoted fact to justify statements about the severity of global warming. Yet, there did not need to be much warming to do this, since summer Arctic sea ice has always been a bit on the thin side (compared, for example, to Antarctic).

    Let me emphasize that I am not arguing against global warming, which you and I know is real. However, as I have said before, we should not be panicked into hasty and ill considered actions due to an over-stated degree of seriousness and urgency. It will take time to develop and implement the optimal mitigating strategies.
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    They had no trouble breaking through the ice to surface, which they could not have done if the ice had any appreciable thickness.
    What they had was super duper depth detection. The US Navy has long been the major record keeper of ice thickness. What they did was simply keep going until they found an area of open water (or polynya if you want to get technical) and surface precisely there.

    Surfacing was a sign of technical wizardry more than of ice weakness.
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    Skeptic, thin ice for a time near or at the Pole is not evidence the entire Arctic had thin ice at that time. That was my point - that occasional thin ice or ice free pole is not indicative of the whole Arctic. Why would you think "...The basic point is that Arctic sea ice has been very thin long before the current period."? Sure, in places, including the Pole. Now it's over the entire Arctic.

    There is a solid trend of loss of multi-year ice and of reduced summer maximum ice area and quantity. Which you sidestepped - in favour of denialist spin that suggests what we see there is not abnormal.

    You keep saying you accept the science on climate. I see consistent evidence that you downplay it's seriousness. In this example it's by failing to look to good information from scientifically credible sources.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    There is a solid trend of loss of multi-year ice and of reduced summer maximum ice area and quantity. Which you sidestepped - in favour of denialist spin that suggests what we see there is not abnormal.
    You reminded me to start a thread about arctic ice reconstruction published last month.
    1400 year Arctic Ice Reconstructions
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    Thanks Lynx Fox - that is a very clear graphical representation of the rapidity of changes to the Arctic and better than any selection of photos of submarines surfacing at the North Pole. Although the day a cruise ship rather than a submarine or dedicated icebreaker gets photographed there will be an event that's noteworthy, especially if it gets there without an icebreaker escort. Within the next 10 years is my off the cuff guess; the feedbacks that come with loss of ice cover will tend to accelerate that summer ice loss and make the Arctic resistant to reversal.

    It's disappointing that the original publication you reference is paywalled but Open Mind is IMO a reliable secondary source, with Tamino quite prepared to do the kind of checks of (particularly) the mathematical and statistical methodology that a genuine, knowledgeable skeptic would and should do. Which is something that a layperson like myself cannot do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    You keep saying you accept the science on climate. I see consistent evidence that you downplay it's seriousness. In this example it's by failing to look to good information from scientifically credible sources.
    Ken

    Climate science has, most sadly, become highly politicised. We have two sources of climate taurine excrementum. One source is, of course, AGW deniers. The other source is disaster exaggerators. Both are energetic. Both cherry pick data to support their view. It is often difficult to get a balanced view between the two that is supported by good science.

    It is my intention to try to obtain that balance. Thus, I reject the views of both extreme camps. In doing so, of course, I offend both camps. If my attempts to gain the balanced view point offend you, I regret that, but I can not do anything else while remaining true to good science.
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    At what point do we determine global warming to be the limit where no matter what we do, we can't stop it? According to science the planet has gone through many cycles of going to the extreme in warming then abruptly to the extreme of global cooling throughout history. How does science determine what is suppose to be normal and what is not normal since we have been around long enough to record it in real time?
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    Climate science has, most sadly, become highly politicised. We have two sources of climate taurine excrementum. One source is, of course, AGW deniers. The other source is disaster exaggerators. Both are energetic. Both cherry pick data to support their view. It is often difficult to get a balanced view between the two that is supported by good science.
    Unfortunately you've been duped by the AGW deniers. Almost all the work has suggested man-made warning as a concern since the mid-70s, well before any of this was politicized (in the Us media...not among scientist), am realistic notion that the conclusions are being political driven is damn hard claim to make. Something like 80% of climate science is payed for and conducted by government scientist who tend to be conservative lot. I know some of them. They typically vote republican or independent, two I know are members of gun clubs, and they generally get no extra pay or other benefits from publishing one way or the other--they are also restricted from 2nd jobs, speeching engagements or other forms of taking money where they might benefit. Many are as disappointed as I am with the Grand Old party, which has moved from positions like Reagan who supported cap-and-trade policies, and Gringrich who had some very strong opinions supporting "urgent" measures to address climate change, (before he decided to run for president), to the anti-scientific price for admission on republican tickets we have now. In short that the science has been almost entirely in one direction for nearly 30 years, and yet the media in particular, fueled by rigorious disinformation campaigns still thinks there's a scientific debate about this--there isn't. And it's not only climate scientist; the evidence is coming from multiple disciplines now.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; January 14th, 2012 at 10:02 PM.
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    The other source is disaster exaggerators. Both are energetic. Both cherry pick data to support their view. It is often difficult to get a balanced view between the two that is supported by good science.
    I know I've quoted this item before, but it's especially apposite in light of your comment.

    Climate scientists don't often talk about such grim long-term forecasts, Huber says, in part because skeptics, exaggerating scientific uncertainties, are always accusing them of alarmism.

    "We've basically been trying to edit ourselves," Huber says. "Whenever we see something really bad, we tend to hold off. The middle ground is actually much worse than people think.

    "If we continue down this road, there really is no uncertainty. We're headed for the Eocene. And we know what that's like."
    I disagree with one thing in this. We, meaning everyone who's not a paleoclimatologist, really don't know what that's like.

    From http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/20.../kunzig-text/2
    Last edited by adelady; January 15th, 2012 at 12:29 AM. Reason: forgot link
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    Skeptic, there is real science and there are exaggerators - the real science needs little or no exaggeration to be alarming and bodies like the US Academy of Sciences or the IPCC do not engage in it. By sticking almost exclusively to the quantifiable any 'exaggeration' within climate science is more in the form of understating the more extreme potentials for harm. I'm not basing my views on how serious and urgent it is on environmental advocacy organisations, think tanks or media hype, but on the work of our scientists. I believe that others here are also basing their views on science, not exaggerated advocacy. The potential for real disaster and great harm inherent in AGW is not a matter of hype and exaggeration.

    I think you have been sucked in to the claims of the climate science deniers that climate scientist are just like them ie willing to misrepresent what is known about climate processes to promote their own commercial or political agendas. They aren't. Our scientists and scientific institutions are as honest as it gets in a flawed human world. Not perfect but the nature of science is that BS doesn't stand close skeptical scrutiny or the test of further data gathering. Once more you show yourself to be more influenced by the messages of organised climate denial than by the world's leading scientific organisations. I'm not sure I believe your protestations that you accept the science on climate. There is a consistent theme of under-rating the seriousness and urgency. As well as simply passing over, rather than providing convincing replies to the arguments that have been put to you by myself and others. You clearly disagree with much of what I've said but I don't believe you have shown that you have good reasons to do so.
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    [QUOTE=Barbi;302186]At what point do we determine global warming to be the limit where no matter what we do, we can't stop it? QUOTE]

    Well, we certainly can't bring back creatures that we've driven to extinction. The important thing is that we are responsible for this particular climate forcing. If we can force the climate and the oceans one way, even though thoughtlessly and incidentally, we should be able to work out how to counteract that forcing.

    I doubt we'll be able to have enough effect soon enough to get the planet back onto its usual glaciation / deglaciation cycle in time to have the next one go as it would have otherwise. But there's no reason why we couldn't be on a reduced emissions-enhanced sequestration track by the end of this century. It won't be enough to save a whole lot of islands and we'll lose a lot of coral reefs, but if we get the deliberately controlled actions right they could be on a recovery track by century's end.

    The worst of it is that some of the world's most productive river deltas - Nile, Ganges, Mekong are the prime ones - will be inundated and out of action for several human generations. Even if the oceans recede, the salt contamination will cause problems for reclaiming the land for productive purposes. How many major cities will we lose? Depends on how many of them have the resources to hold back enough sea level rise until water levels stabilise. I suspect that the next generation +1 will be faced with some very hard triage questions on this one.

    Remember this. Irreversible does not mean unstoppable.

    We've already killed off a lot of plants and animals and more are on their way out. Sea level will continue to rise as the ice sheets melt and destabilise. But we can change what we do and what we focus on as important. 3 generations from now climate and agriculture and especially fisheries might be unrecognisable to us - but people will cope. And with good science and engineering to support them they can wind back the worst of what they've inherited.
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    Human caused species extinction makes me feel ashamed to be a part of the human race. Since our species refuses to take responsibility for their reproduction, it is inevitable that we will extinct many creatures simly because we need their territory for human expansion. Can we live on a planet where we decide who lives or becomes extinct with the other crittters? Power and greed is at a all time high on a global scale and I see this as heading for a major disaster and will dramatically alter our current standard of living.

    I realize that greed and power has always been a reality but it has not been to the extreme that it is now. This mentality does not support the idea that we should be more responsible with energy reduction or the many ways we can improve the quality of life by actively making the necessary steps to stop our destructive methods on the environment. The desire for power and greed prevents a cooperative attitude of being responsible and making sacrifices for the future of our descendents.

    The sad thing is humans are fully capable of actively taking responsibility for the destruction we do to the planet and we are aware of the consequences if we do nothing. Science has made alot of progress in the last decade and many inventions that would reduce energy cost or would not cost anything has been prevented from being on the market due to being a threat to big corporations that would lose profit.

    The fact that they call it global warming instead of global destruction allowed everyone to debate it for years without anyone having to take responsibility since the title implies it is a natural event that is evident in history. If they had rightfully titled it global destruction then we would have no choice but to accept responsiblity for our actions since there is no debate about its causes.
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    Since our species refuses to take responsibility for their reproduction
    This is a bit of a furphy when we're talking about climate changing. The populations who have the highest birth rates are not a problem in terms of carbon emissions. But you're right that their claims on land are dangerous to ecological balance and survival of some species.

    But the worst dangers of destroying forest habitat are due almost entirely to your 'greed and power' merchants. Whether it's palm oil plantations in Indonesia or cattle pastures in the Amazon or logging in New Guinea, it's big companies that are the problem. And "accepting responsibility" is not on their board meeting agendas. If such activities are to be controlled (or banned) then it's down to governments to legislate and to enforce the laws they enact. Both big problems in poor countries whose police and public servants are poorly paid and who are easily seduced by bribery. There've been some successes in turning around similar problems in Africa with wildlife protection and shared use of habitat - but they still have poachers.
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    There maybe wildlife protection in Africa now but I see its going to be a conflict in the future. Africa is growing and becoming more modern with China's influence and the U.S. and by 2050, Africa will have the highest population of work age individuals in the world. I would imagine that corporations are going to consider this factor and make it profitable for them. By bringing Africa's population up to modern standards there is not going to be much room for the wildlife.
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    Adelady, Barbi, - I haven't been ignoring what you write but have been a bit distracted by Skeptic. The Anthropocene Extinction is a disturbing phenomena and it's not like people are unaware of it's extent. Local efforts matter but they are being undone by the global lack of effort. Maybe we have to see it as an ethical problem.

    Ethics and the absence of them is not a new problem for humanity but we do live at a time when genuine understanding of the nature of our world has grown enough to allow a clarity of foresight previous civilisations didn't have. This applies across the whole spectrum of human activities but never before has a civilisation had the capacity to profoundly and fundamentally reshape the whole world. That makes policy development and decision making that doesn't take the longer view - that ignores what we know about the nature of our world and consequences of those decisions - much more dangerous.

    It requires strong ethical values to apply foresight (and develop policy based on it) to wider benefit rather than narrow sectional interests or short term goals. Widely held ethical values matter but most of all it's needed within our leaders. When leaders lack moral backbone expedient decisions dominate. When public opinion has become a commodity sold to the highest bidders by an amoral media/thinktank/advertising/PR sector balance is lost. No doubt that our leaders are constantly between a rock and a hard place but without some moral backbone they cannot stand up to pressure and use the influence they have to do more than take the expedient decisions. The expedient choice becomes the only choice and that isn't good enough. Thank you Internet - Opinion as a commodity hasn't become universal. Knowledge continues to grow and access to it is widening. But it takes a bit of motivation to take the time and make the effort.

    And, of course, there is no single, clear moral code to be a guide; almost all the traditional ones have strong sectarian us-and-them sentiments built into them. Environmentalism is often accused of being a form of religion. On this forum it's populist (but not universal) distrust of nuclear is often viewed as evidence of dogmatic beliefs as is it's anti-consumerist/frugalist position. I don't see it as dogmatically religious but there is a thread of ethical consideration that tries to look beyond our immediate needs and greeds that is largely absent in the dominant political and religious ideologies. It's not well defined or universal, it's leaders often have their own blind spots that become cause to doubt they possess sufficient foresight but in the absence of trustworthy mainstream alternatives that bit of ethical backbone is worth cultivating. And emulating.
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    First : to those people who apparently do not read my posts properly, and accuse me of being 'sucked in' by global warming deniers - sorry guys, but that is total bullshit.

    I have consistently stated my view that global warming is real, generated by humans, and needs mitigating. However, whether you are prepared to admit it or not, there are global warming disaster exaggerators, as well as deniers. Most climatologists do not fit this category. The outstanding exception is James Hansen, who thinks that world sea levels will rise 5 metres before 2100. However, the IPCC, which is much more scientific in its approach, does not agree, and presents a much more balanced picture.

    Global warming disaster exaggerators are much more prevalent among laypeople who, nevertheless, think their opinions matter. I see them in this, and other forums.

    On extinctions.
    This has been a by-product of human activity since before we were humans. Several species of elephants in Africa that thrived a million years ago, soon after became extinct. While we cannot be sure why, there was no climate change or other obvious reason, and it seems likely that Homo erectus was responsible - probably by over hunting. Only the small species died out. The large African elephant that was too big for Homo erectus to threaten with primitive weapons, lived on without harm.

    Polynesians migrating across the Pacific Ocean were responsible for the extinctions of about 2,000 species of island bird species. This was about 20% of all bird species in the world at the time. I could name other mass extinctions caused by 'primitive' humans.

    Modern humans are much more conservation minded. While we are still killing off too many species, they are mostly ones that are already on the edge of extinction, or else insects or other 'insignificant' species. The point being that, even though we are still causing some extinctions, at least we are, for the first time in human history or pre-history, making an honest attempt to minimise harm. From here, we can only improve.
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    The outstanding exception is James Hansen, who thinks that world sea levels will rise 5 metres before 2100.
    Well he does think that for certain conditions. Namely ... given the assumption of a typical IPCC's BAU climate forcing scenario.

    Have a good read of this paper , esp pp 14-17 http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailin...kovicPaper.pdf and see if you think he's being overly pessimistic. Re-read the first 2 paragraphs of page 17.

    If you do think that, rework the doubling time at 12 or 15 or 20 years and see if you feel any better about it.

    How do I feel after reading this stuff? I look at the projections for Arctic sea ice and how wildly optimistic they were a mere 10 years ago, and I am not reassured.

    Uncertainty is not your friend.
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    Adelady

    Perhaps you might explain why the IPCC and climatologists throughout the world do not agree with Hansen's views on sea level rise. Is it possible he might actually be wrong?
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    Skeptic, you may consistently agree that climate change is real but you consistently underrate it's seriousness and the urgency of needed action. I may have to go back and make a list of some of the unfortunate things you've said that illustrate that. And of your tendency to simply move on when shown to be wrong. Rather than get too sidetracked, I'll address the immediate issue of the consequences of delayed action on sea level rise from a source other than James Hansen - the original is paywalled, so, from skepticalscience.com a graph by Jevrejeva et al showing sea level rise with emissions stabilised in 10, 30,70 years and not at all.

    The rise doesn't stop at 2100 but if that is used as a cutoff point it can easily give the illusion that there isn't that much difference. But there is a huge difference. It's that awkward delay thingy again, between emissions and full impacts; in the case of sea level rise the delay is centuries rather than decades but, once triggered it's effectively unstoppable. I would think even 1 metre rise would equate to huge impacts, either in terms of loss of valuable land or in terms of infrastructure costs to prevent it. And it will not be occurring in isolation to other costly climate impacts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post

    It is my intention to try to obtain that balance. Thus, I reject the views of both extreme camps. In doing so, of course, I offend both camps. If my attempts to gain the balanced view point offend you, I regret that, but I can not do anything else while remaining true to good science.
    The trouble with balance. It's always tempting to try and find a place where the scale doesn't tilt one way or another, and stop there, because that *looks* the most balanced.

    But what if, even after absolutely all the spin is taken out, and you're just seeing the bare truth, the scale still tilts, because that's the fact of the matter?


    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    At what point do we determine global warming to be the limit where no matter what we do, we can't stop it? According to science the planet has gone through many cycles of going to the extreme in warming then abruptly to the extreme of global cooling throughout history. How does science determine what is suppose to be normal and what is not normal since we have been around long enough to record it in real time?
    Who care's what "normal" is? If "normal" is bad for the species' survival, then maybe we should deviate from it. Even if global warming were a natural process occurring entirely on its own, stopping it might still be a good idea.
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    Perhaps you might explain why the IPCC and climatologists throughout the world do not agree with Hansen's views on sea level rise. Is it possible he might actually be wrong?
    The IPCC does not agree (or disagree) with anything. It merely sums up an overview of science as it is at a cut off point. The cutoff point for the last IPCC report was in late 2005. The GRACE satellites were launched in March 02. They'd had a bare 3 years to get going, get calibrated and maybe a couple of years observations analysed by that time. And for that report, there was no way of arriving at an estimate or a projection for ice sheet loss contribution to future sea level rise. So it was omitted. They didn't say it wasn't happening, they just had insufficient evidence to assign any numbers, with or without error bars. That won't be true for the next report.

    If you'd read the sections of that particular Hansen & Sato paper referred to earlier that I highlighted, you'd see the basis for the possible 5 metre rise. 6 years worth of GRACE satelite data. Simply put, this quote is the money shot.

    These data records are too short to provide a reliable evaluation of the doubling time, but, such as they are, they yield a best fit doubling time for annual mass loss of 5-6 years for both Greenland and Antarctica., consistent with the approximate doubling of annual mass loss in the period 2003-2008.
    Hansen, Sato use 10 years doubling time for annual mass loss based on an estimate of ice loss currently contributing 1mm per annum of the recent 3mm per annum average. That results in 5 metres by 2100. You can recalculate however you like. Perhaps ice loss is only contributing 0.6mm per annum until now. Maybe the doubling time should be 12 or 15 or maybe 8 years. Whatever.

    Their calculations are also based on BAU emissions continuing. They may be wrong about that. The GRACE results suggest, at the moment, that a 10 year doubling time is a bit optimistic. They may be wrong about that. After all, the IPCC and the cryologists and glaciologists were way, way out on the speed of loss of Arctic sea ice. Though they've been pretty well on the money for Antarctic sea ice.

    As I said before. Uncertainty is not your friend.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    First : to those people who apparently do not read my posts properly, and accuse me of being 'sucked in' by global warming deniers - sorry guys, but that is total bullshit.

    I have consistently stated my view that global warming is real, generated by humans, and needs mitigating. However, whether you are prepared to admit it or not, there are global warming disaster exaggerators, as well as deniers. Most climatologists do not fit this category. The outstanding exception is James Hansen, who thinks that world sea levels will rise 5 metres before 2100. However, the IPCC, which is much more scientific in its approach, does not agree, and presents a much more balanced picture.

    Global warming disaster exaggerators are much more prevalent among laypeople who, nevertheless, think their opinions matter. I see them in this, and other forums.

    On extinctions.
    This has been a by-product of human activity since before we were humans. Several species of elephants in Africa that thrived a million years ago, soon after became extinct. While we cannot be sure why, there was no climate change or other obvious reason, and it seems likely that Homo erectus was responsible - probably by over hunting. Only the small species died out. The large African elephant that was too big for Homo erectus to threaten with primitive weapons, lived on without harm.

    Polynesians migrating across the Pacific Ocean were responsible for the extinctions of about 2,000 species of island bird species. This was about 20% of all bird species in the world at the time. I could name other mass extinctions caused by 'primitive' humans.

    Modern humans are much more conservation minded. While we are still killing off too many species, they are mostly ones that are already on the edge of extinction, or else insects or other 'insignificant' species. The point being that, even though we are still causing some extinctions, at least we are, for the first time in human history or pre-history, making an honest attempt to minimise harm. From here, we can only improve.
    Which species are considered "insignificant" species? In my opinion, they are all significant except for the ones kept in a lab for bioweapons. The ones already on the edge of extinction are due to humans taking their territory space or are killed for human use of their parts. The honest attempt you speak of to reduce harm or by improving their numbers is usually done by taking their young and raising them by humans to return to the members of their species later is a bad idea to begin with.

    The best method to allow these species a chance at a comeback is to leave any human influence out of it completely and leave those areas of land to them with strict laws that no humans can enter their territory.
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    I'm kind of on the opposite end of the scale as far as the species question. I don't see anything inherently bad about a "species" dying out. In the case of pests like mosquitoes, I'd rather see the whole species die out, every last one, than keep a few around and risk them breeding back to their previous population levels. Same goes for the Bubonic plague. We could save a few strains in a lab, for old time sake, but let's not talk seriously about releasing it back into the rat population please.

    I know species are dying at a rate much faster than new ones can emerge to replace them right now, but I'm not sure that's so bad. I think the ecosystem is just simplifying, and it needs to if it's going to avoid conflict with us. We could perpetuate that conflict if we want, but it will be a hassle.
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  28. #328  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    The best method to allow these species a chance at a comeback is to leave any human influence out of it completely and leave those areas of land to them with strict laws that no humans can enter their territory.
    I have to disagree. The reason for my disagreement is relating to the fact that I am a New Zealander, and we have seen how enlightened and vigorous intervention can change outcomes. Couple of examples for you to read.

    Black Robin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Kakapo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Takahe Fact Sheet

    Rebuilding populations of endangered species takes time, imagination, and resources. Which is why it is mostly not done. But with determination and dedication, it can be done, and is being done with the examples above.
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    I think the ecosystem is just simplifying, and it needs to if it's going to avoid conflict with us.
    Wrong way round I'm afraid. A simple ecosystem is a fragile ecosystem.

    We rely tremendously on all sorts of complex cascades of species interactions - usually referred to as 'ecosystem services'. The obvious ones for crops are pollinators and the predators of pests. Even there we're barely scratching the surface of how these interactions work or fail. Let's face it. It's only a few decades ago that soil 'scientists' were ignoring, or even killing off, earthworms and other species that in fact improve or create soils.

    Maintaining complexity is one of the most urgent tasks in managing our biosphere.
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    Kojax. I'm not surprised that people hold such a view. Deeply disappointed and dismayed, certainly, that the individual parts of a complex interactive web of life, that we are just beginning to understand the importance and value of, is so casually dismissed as worthless. And it seems to me it will be those adaptable 'pest' species that will be most able to hang around. The beautiful, wondrous and fragile are already vanishing, often to enable unsustainable land use practices that are little better than theft of valuable - and often not that valuable - resources.

    I think there are valuable lessons still to be learned from understanding the interplays of competition and co-operation within the natural world. I believe we still remain far more dependent on those natural ecosystems than is readily apparent. The old view of other species being non-human, therefore soulless, therefore ours to exploit or eradicate is transcended by deeper knowledge. Besides being things of wonder and beauty that are our planet's and humanity's living treasures.
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    Realistically, we are just realizing that all the players in an ecosystem is important to sustain its vitality and stability but unfortunately humans have spent most of their history by killing everything that gets in our way or is profitable. The people that are trying to make an effort to save many species are not taking into the fact that these creatures also need a habitat to live in too and this is a problem with our growing population. There just isn't enough land mass that is sustainable for a healthy return of species that are on the extinction list that wouldn't be in competition of humans wanting that land space too.
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    Barbi

    You do too little justice to an awful lot of people who are working hard to preserve ecosystems and increase suitable living habitat. Not always successfully, of course, but the effort is there and should be recognised.

    And there are a lot of species once on the near-extinction list that are now making a come back. It can be done, and being defeatist does not help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Barbi

    You do too little justice to an awful lot of people who are working hard to preserve ecosystems and increase suitable living habitat. Not always successfully, of course, but the effort is there and should be recognised.

    And there are a lot of species once on the near-extinction list that are now making a come back. It can be done, and being defeatist does not help.

    I am not trying to do unjustice to those people trying to save species, but I am being realistic when I say that greed and power will be the ultimate winner so all we are doing is really delaying the inevitable with those species that are going to be extinct now at a later date.
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    all we are doing is really delaying the inevitable
    That's the counsel of despair. We may be at war with ourselves, but it is a war.

    As Winston Churchill said,
    "Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. "
    The enemy might be ourselves or our neighbours. But we should never, ever give up the fight to do the right thing. The victories may be small or few and far between. But every victory is one we wouldn't have won without fighting for it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Adelady, Barbi, - I haven't been ignoring what you write but have been a bit distracted by Skeptic. The Anthropocene Extinction is a disturbing phenomena and it's not like people are unaware of it's extent. Local efforts matter but they are being undone by the global lack of effort. Maybe we have to see it as an ethical problem.

    Ethics and the absence of them is not a new problem for humanity but we do live at a time when genuine understanding of the nature of our world has grown enough to allow a clarity of foresight previous civilisations didn't have. This applies across the whole spectrum of human activities but never before has a civilisation had the capacity to profoundly and fundamentally reshape the whole world. That makes policy development and decision making that doesn't take the longer view - that ignores what we know about the nature of our world and consequences of those decisions - much more dangerous.

    It requires strong ethical values to apply foresight (and develop policy based on it) to wider benefit rather than narrow sectional interests or short term goals. Widely held ethical values matter but most of all it's needed within our leaders. When leaders lack moral backbone expedient decisions dominate. When public opinion has become a commodity sold to the highest bidders by an amoral media/thinktank/advertising/PR sector balance is lost. No doubt that our leaders are constantly between a rock and a hard place but without some moral backbone they cannot stand up to pressure and use the influence they have to do more than take the expedient decisions. The expedient choice becomes the only choice and that isn't good enough. Thank you Internet - Opinion as a commodity hasn't become universal. Knowledge continues to grow and access to it is widening. But it takes a bit of motivation to take the time and make the effort.

    And, of course, there is no single, clear moral code to be a guide; almost all the traditional ones have strong sectarian us-and-them sentiments built into them. Environmentalism is often accused of being a form of religion. On this forum it's populist (but not universal) distrust of nuclear is often viewed as evidence of dogmatic beliefs as is it's anti-consumerist/frugalist position. I don't see it as dogmatically religious but there is a thread of ethical consideration that tries to look beyond our immediate needs and greeds that is largely absent in the dominant political and religious ideologies. It's not well defined or universal, it's leaders often have their own blind spots that become cause to doubt they possess sufficient foresight but in the absence of trustworthy mainstream alternatives that bit of ethical backbone is worth cultivating. And emulating.
    Ken,

    I have spent many years debating with myself on whether humans could or would prevent our extinction. I have come to the conclusion that humans could prevent their own extinction but they won't, denial and irresponsibility in our actions will eventually wipe us out to extinction. In the age of rapid advancements in information being shared globally, the global population is well aware of what we are doing in destructive behavior with our planet. There is no excuse for why we are not using better methods of energy reduction, stopping the environmental destruction, stop polluting our oceans and rivers, reducing our imports and exports of food that can be locally grown, energy efficient vehicles, solar power, recycling, etc.

    As individuals, many of us see the problem and would be more then happy to use energy conservative technology that is affordable so they are enabled to make the transition. The problem is it is not affordable or it is not available to the public because it is being blocked by greedy corporations that are afraid of losing profit. Our monetary system is the ultimate destruction to humanity and if we don't eliminate it and transfer its value to the planet itself that sustains us, we will walk to our own extinction.
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    Barbi, I've thought that humanity, even in the worst case, won't end up extinct in a hurry, but the day that humanity's survivors are confined to living in bunkers or other self sustaining enclosures our long term outlook won't be good. That would probably be a clear indicator that we truly do lack the intelligence, foresight and moral strength needed. We'll have squandered resources that can't be replaced and that will put restrictive bounds around our future possibilities and opportunities.

    Elsewhere I've debated the viability of colonising space as the means to preserve humanity's future. Except with the backing of a strong, sustainable civilisation here on Earth I don't believe space colonies will be viable. Besides a lack of awareness amongst it's ethusiastic proponents of how dependent humanity is, even now, on inherited environmental capital, I think there is probably a minimum size of a population and economy to sustain ongoing technological and scientific advancement - and that is essential when basic environmental capital is a technological product. Even the wide and deep knowledge base that we have now is a legacy largely inherited, that needs to be husbanded and shared, not owned and hoarded if it is to survive and grow. And that human intelligence, foresight and moral strength really looks to be essential to any long term viable way of life.

    It does seem that balance is essential - too small a civilisation and economy and that depth and breadth of knowledge can't develop or be sustained, but too large - and too careless and wasteful of it's capital - and a civilisation will consume the fundamental resources it depends on.
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    Adelady, I don't even believe we would suffer any serious loss of prosperity by treating climate and other sustainability issues as essential rather than optional. The technologies and solutions may not be perfect but, given a realistic perspective about the essential need a strong motivation can sustain us as the transition gets started. But moral backbone within our leaders - who hold positions of trust and better than the average ought to be a minimum requirement - is notably absent. I'm not sure how that will be rectified any time soon, but popular movements often do emerge unexpectedly and surprise everyone and inspire from grass roots up. It seems like there have been a few brief sparks that have sputtered out - Occupy for example - that reveal an awareness and simmering discontent that things aren't right but lack the unity and clarity that can carry change forward. Not sure where the movement that can harness it - and has leadership with that moral strength as well as clarity of foresight that it's success needs - will come from.

    I just can't see the whole global economy being remade, or it's leadership replaced - no 'glorious' revolutions but a kind of necessary evolution? But perhaps a new awareness and understanding emerging within the structures we already have can shift the balance. Successful lawsuits? The Insurance and Re-insurance sector making the old business models or the fossil fuel energy corporations uninsurable? Bankers seeing emerging energy infrastructure investments as better than backing business as usual? What could trigger such shifts in the thinking of captains of commerce and industry?

    I still think the current business and political model, that values the power of persuasion over the power of truth - a kind of Ponzi scheme of enormous scale - is far more fragile than it appears. I don't believe the whole of commerce and industry is blindly unaware, nor are all the practitioners of politics necessarily fans of unending expediency and the elevation of spin into their weapon of choice. They are just keeping heads down and waiting for the right opportunity to back what, in their heart of hearts, they know is right.
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    I don't even believe we would suffer any serious loss of prosperity by treating climate and other sustainability issues as essential rather than optional. The technologies and solutions may not be perfect...
    Well if you look at the numbers for the USA, there are many huge heaps of money to be made by transition to better technology. From retrofitiing their very poor stock of buildings through to establishing an interactive power grid to more sensible transport choices.

    As for perfect. All it takes is a change in your point of view. I might have been hanging out for an EV to recharge from my home solar PV, but I missed the real point. Don't know where I read it, because the impact was a bit delayed. Someone pointed out that using internal combustion engines for cars is ridiculous in use-of-power terms. Why do we have millions and millions of grossly inefficient mobile power stations on our roads?

    If we need power to drive our vehicles we should be looking for the best way to power them. We shouldn't start with the idea that cars are what they are, how they are. and we can just make what we've got more efficient. The technology and its application are inherently inefficient. Electric cars are, by definition, more suited to purpose. We just have to get used to them.

    And the same thing goes for centralised power generation. Sure it's a good and useful thing. But the idea that central generation plus distribution is the best or the only way to provide power for a population is nonsense.
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    Adelady, I'm not sure that the car as we know it has ever been a 'solution' to transport needs that can be sustained at high levels of use. Yet having them taps into something primal in the human psyche, and once we've gotten used to that mobility with personal space, public transport options look unattractive. Of course a lot of effort goes into maintaining that attractiveness and, of all the big infrastructure projects roads are the most widely used and visible. The mismatch between vehicle usage and road capacity is encountered every day and it's frustrations are the ones the political astute will focus on to evoke immediate emotive responses from voters. And it's an area that, like energy, sees the attention remain on the short term whilst the bigger picture remains obscured.

    Previously I mentioned availability of Lithium. I still think known reserves are insufficient for large scale use of electric transport. Other solutions are needed and believing this is a problem on the verge of a relatively easy solution is going to sustain an illusion rather than enable real solutions. Like it or not - and most people will not like it - the solutions will include serious reduction of the use of the automobile and increased reliance on solutions like public transport. Transport, like all thes interrelated issues of sustainability - ultimately the security and prosperity of future generations - requires a longer view, built around best available knowledge and looking beyond narrower commercial and sectarian interests. Even those who have some of that vision and have real concerns are diverted and dissuaded and can feel that resisting the mainstream way of doing things is too difficult and uncomfortable and ultimately pointless. For most people of the wealthy industrialised world the disconnection with the environment that grows their food and provides the resources for their comforts, including their beloved car, is profound.

    It's hard to feel optimistic that real solutions can be put in place when the differences between dramatic fiction for entertainment and documentary descriptions of science based understanding are increasingly blurred. Yet there are a lot of people who do see that it's serious and urgent and are willing to make an effort - and even make sacrifices. People like myself get called alarmist and increasingly the opponents are successfully convincing people its 'crying wolf'. Simply getting louder, when that alarm is being tuned out and treated as background noise, clearly isn't enough. But what is and will be enough remains elusive.
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    You mean lithium for batteries? There are many many options in development for batteries. I doubt lithium will be relied on quite so heavily in a decade or two's time.

    And I agree with you entirely on the 'usefulness' of cars. But we have to remember that public transport used to be much better on a per capita basis in modern cities. I remember when all the tram lines were ripped up in Adelaide in the 50s - because they got in the way of the "much more flexible" cars and buses. We're starting to put tramlines back in.
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    The motorcar solved the great horse manure crisis.
    The Great Horse-Manure Crisis of 1894 | The Freeman | Ideas On Liberty

    Battery electric cars will solve the current peak oil problem. Either with lithium, for which there is ample reserve once we learn to extract it from sea water commercially and economically, or from some alternative battery technology.
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    Skeptic, I note that you refer to the peak oil problem rather than the climate problem. I think the latter is far more important and urgent, given that short term solutions to the peak oil problem will add to emissions rather than reduce them; the use of 'unconventional' fossil fuel options are much higher priority than serious use of electric cars. Things like oil from tar sands and liquid fuel from coal, once commercialised within a cost framework that doesn't include externalities like climate impacts, will add significantly to the climate problem. They are, technically, relatively easy choices that are not hypothetical; tar sands extraction on a large scale is already high on the agenda of fossil fuel companies - considered profitable enough to built a pipeline thousands of kilometres from Canada to Texas. Of course significant carbon pricing is not part of the costing and it's introduction is fiercely and successfully being opposed by those involved.

    I would also note that you are (again) offering optimistic views of the future based on the use of technologies that are not currently available and seem to believe that there will be no significant issues around these technologies supplanting fossil fuel based ones. It is a recipe for ongoing dependence on high emissions technologies, and offers no clear path that will see fossil fuels replaced.
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    Ken

    Those technologies are already available.
    Electric cars are in the stores. Lithium batteries are available. Lithium extraction from the sea is happening in pilot plants.

    There is a need to scale these things up, of course, but there is no theoretical reason why that cannot be done. History shows that, when something is possible in theory, and necessary in practise, it will happen.

    There are, in fact, many new technologies that will be needed, both for peak oil, and for climate change. Those technologies are being developed. Not always with enough fervour, or enough investment dollars. But they are happening.

    I agree that the wrong fossil fuels are being developed. I see no way to stop that in the short term. Hopefully, from 2020 onwards, things will change.

    Climate change is going to damage the world. We have to face that as reality. The big powers that emit most CO2 are not going to change their ways before 2020. They have said that most unambiguously. You can bash your head against a brick wall, if you want. But you might as well try to convince a fundamentalist that the bible is just a mess of myths, parables, and distorted and twisted versions of history that did not happen. How successful do you think you will be?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post

    As individuals, many of us see the problem and would be more then happy to use energy conservative technology that is affordable so they are enabled to make the transition. The problem is it is not affordable or it is not available to the public because it is being blocked by greedy corporations that are afraid of losing profit. Our monetary system is the ultimate destruction to humanity and if we don't eliminate it and transfer its value to the planet itself that sustains us, we will walk to our own extinction.
    The problem is that money system is the only thing enabling 6 billion people to live here at once without murdering each other in a huge atomic war. Could you imagine if that system fell? People would be so desperate to lay hold one what few resources were left, they'd start holding them hostage "If they can't be mine, they won't be anybody's!!!!!! Muahahahahahah!!!"

    I fear that if we want to keep our wild areas, it will require a mass extinction (human extinction) event. Naturally I hope I won't be the one being extinguished, but c'est la vie. An alternative might be to stop growing and hope technology catches up in time, before we've destroyed everything. I know everyone says the UN is predicting a stop to growth, but .........somehow I suspect it won't be the kind of stop we're hoping for.

    The ultimate human greed that's driving all of this is the bare desire to survive. The fat cats that push their greed around only win because a bunch of desperate people are all hoping to scrape by a living by following in their wake. Those desperate people see supporting the rich as their best hope. Unsupported, those rich guys would be about as dangerous as an angry barking poodle.
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    If your hope is to do away with the money system, then you are living on the wrong planet. Our money system is the only thing holding the entire global economy together. Without it would be anarchy and mass death.

    However, there is no need to despair. The paranoid belief we are all heading for disaster is a construct of the media, not a reality. There will be problems in the future, including peak oil and global warming. But the world of humanity has always had problems. And our species is very good at solving problems.
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    Skeptic, corporate and other powerful interests have become extremely good at peddling illusions. And at undermining trust and acceptance of science based reality on climate. The conclusion that we are heading for disaster is a science based one, not a paranoid belief constructed by the media. The media in Australia is treating rising power bills as policy disaster whilst largely bypassing the disastrous consequences of failure to put in place strong incentives to ditch fossil fuels. It only works because a lot of influential people who should and mostly do know better, put short term gain ahead of ethical responsibility that comes with holding positions of trust - and feed those illusions.

    I think there is very good cause to be pessimistic when people such as yourself, that believe AGW is real, are failing to show any great concern for mainstream political parties in crucial nations refining and strengthening their position of opposition to all serious policy that undermines fossil fuels - which includes cultivating public distrust in relevant science, the pointlessness of present day efforts and distraction from how much irreversible momentum is added to the problem by delay. And cultivate the illusion about how easily such problems will be solved by technology and policy of a wiser, better equipped and richer future - ie fantasy about the future to avoid action in the present.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    The conclusion that we are heading for disaster is a science based one, not a paranoid belief constructed by the media. .
    The true science based approach does not even talk of disaster. It talks of inputs and outcomes. Actions and consequences. The word 'disaster' is one that is emotion laden and one that does not belong in a science paper. The conclusions of scientists are taken up by the media and turned into emotional writings.

    There are, it is true, some scientists who get away from science and into emotion. That is because we are all human and to be human is to be emotional. But good scientific discipline works against this.

    I do not believe I have said the issue is not urgent or important. What I have said, is that the major powers have already decided not to set emission targets before 2020. To try to fight that is a head bashing exercise. If you insist on doing so, then the very best of luck to you! Instead, I have suggested that we should concentrate on developing acceptable alternatives to the carbon emitting technologies in use today.
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    Skeptic you can argue terminology all you want but it's clear to me that you use such arguments to divert attention from the seriousness of the climate problem. I could use "Dangerous Climate Change" or the likelihood of "Catastrophic Climate Change" - which do get used in this context. Scientist are being asked to give assessments in such terms. Sticking to the kinds of bounds for communicating science you claim is appropriate would leave the general public in bewildered ignorance of an unprecedented global problem that will deeply impact the lives and livelihoods of most people now living.

    I no longer believe you are sincere about addressing it in any meaningful way and the key components of campaigns to undermine efforts to do so - doubt, deny, delay - are consistent features of your comments. Rather than turn to science based assessments of what we can expect from ongoing failure to rein in emission you argue that the expectations of disastrous harm to biosphere and dependent human populations is a product of paranoia and media hype; if that's not denial I don't know what is.

    Sorry Skeptic, I just don't believe you have anything constructive or meaningful to say. Instead I see you as an example of how thoroughly otherwise well educated people can be sucked in by the rhetoric of organised opposition to action to limit predictable harm to our future.
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    Thank you Ken for saying most of what I wanted to say, but with greater eloquence, in post after post.
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    Thanks John, Lynx Fox, Adelady, Barbi and others - having a few "Likes" as well as constructive responses makes me feel like my words are not totally wasted. I've also appreciated everyone's involvement; I didn't come into this with my views set in stone and I know that my viewpoint and points of focus include my own biases. Even those I strongly disagree with have been instructive.

    I'd like to think that lower costs - and attractiveness - for low emissions options will get a lot better but I don't believe that it will be anything like enough, soon enough.

    My determination to speak out has been strengthened even if I feel pessimism for the short term; Skeptic is probably right that we won't see much real action over the current decade. I find the acceleration of emissions growth of the past decade - in the face of clear science based knowledge of the dangers of that course - very concerning as it will ultimately come at very high cost. The efforts to get urgent action on the agenda can't be put on the back burner or delay will become a more deeply entrenched part of mainstream policy.

    The more I think about organised efforts to avoid and delay action the uglier it looks; it may seem over the top but I think we are seeing serious crime against humanity in the making.

    Seeing greed and fear fueling deliberate efforts to undermine trust in science at the time when it's most needed, for no better reason than it is showing us the real, world changing consequences of our actions - is deeply disturbing. To see it's leading participants being held in high esteem as they use their influence to strengthen opposition to action really does appall and sicken me.

    I don't know what the triggers for widespread, determined action will be but I'm glad that, so far, I've been able to present my opinions without risk of censorship. Thank you ScienceForum and the Internet. I've been permitted to speak with minimal interference - although I've found that my 'crime against humanity' opinion has been too strong for publication in mainstream Australian media. I think my efforts here have improved my writing skills as well as my comprehension of the issues involved and I will keep at it here and elsewhere. Oddly enough a couple of comments that got "likes" were ones I thought I could've expressed myself more clearly!

    These threads do end up passing their use by dates, becoming too long to attract new participants, yet some valuable discussion has happened all the way through. If the participants here feel it's time to bring a new focus on specific issues raised here in new threads it may be nearing the time to do so.
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  51. #351  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Sorry Skeptic, I just don't believe you have anything constructive or meaningful to say. Instead I see you as an example of how thoroughly otherwise well educated people can be sucked in by the rhetoric of organised opposition to action to limit predictable harm to our future.
    Ken

    You have consistently chosen to apply your own misinterpretation on anything I say, in spite of my efforts to correct you.

    Try to listen for once, instead of jumping to conclusions.

    I have never told you that global warming is unimportant or non urgent. I have simply tried to keep you in the real world, facing up to what is actually happening, instead of some imaginary fantasy about people doing what you think they should.

    There is a point where taking a cause beyond that which is practical becomes crackpottery. Global warming is no different. Approaching this cause with concern, and educating people about what is happening is a good thing. Telling everyone they can knock down a brick wall by hitting it with their head is a bad thing. Keep it real.
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    Even believing doing the minimum necessary represents crackpottery appears to prove my point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post

    As individuals, many of us see the problem and would be more then happy to use energy conservative technology that is affordable so they are enabled to make the transition. The problem is it is not affordable or it is not available to the public because it is being blocked by greedy corporations that are afraid of losing profit. Our monetary system is the ultimate destruction to humanity and if we don't eliminate it and transfer its value to the planet itself that sustains us, we will walk to our own extinction.
    The problem is that money system is the only thing enabling 6 billion people to live here at once without murdering each other in a huge atomic war. Could you imagine if that system fell? People would be so desperate to lay hold one what few resources were left, they'd start holding them hostage "If they can't be mine, they won't be anybody's!!!!!! Muahahahahahah!!!"

    I fear that if we want to keep our wild areas, it will require a mass extinction (human extinction) event. Naturally I hope I won't be the one being extinguished, but c'est la vie. An alternative might be to stop growing and hope technology catches up in time, before we've destroyed everything. I know everyone says the UN is predicting a stop to growth, but .........somehow I suspect it won't be the kind of stop we're hoping for.

    The ultimate human greed that's driving all of this is the bare desire to survive. The fat cats that push their greed around only win because a bunch of desperate people are all hoping to scrape by a living by following in their wake. Those desperate people see supporting the rich as their best hope. Unsupported, those rich guys would be about as dangerous as an angry barking poodle.
    Yeah, you are right, the collapse of our money system would become a catastrophic event in terms of the utter chaos it would cause. I do agree a massive extinction of the global population is the only way to keep certain areas protected for other species. Its too bad that the human race can't be responsible enough in our nature to prevent the inevitable future environment that would be viewed by us as living in hell.

    I wouldn't call it greed that's driving all of this the bare desire to survive since it is instinctive in all living creatures. Rich people have far too much money needed in order to survive and they are greedy since hoarding money is not considered a cooperative trait. Cooperative behavior is how life built itself in the first place and this is fundamentally is necessary to maintain a stable environment. The human species is not acting in a cooperative relationship with the planet and its consequences are slowly becoming obvious to us.

    Throughout history, the human population has been reduced by wars, plagues, viruses, etc but now we live in a time where technology reduces the lost lives in war significantly, The CDC is hot on the trail of any new emerging disease factors so lost of lives would be reduced here as well. We have basically outstepped nature's mechanisms for reducing population growth without considering why they are necessary in the first place. In this case I have to agree with your statement that it is greed in the desire to survive.

    I guess the human race has to learn the lesson the hard way by experiencing the legacy of what previous generations have done in terms of irresponsible behavior towards the health of our planet. When the masses start to suffer as a result of no preventative action taken by their leaders and the ones before them that did nothing to diminish the damages we have caused, all those rich people in power will be taken down and stripped of their wealth. This won't happen for a long time in the future but it will happen as it has happened many times in history.
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    Barbi, perhaps part of the mess we are in is because we are too easily diverted from thinking too deeply. And we are not so good at turning deeper knowledge into action when we do. Understanding via science of the consequences of our collective actions is generally remote from the decisions we make individually. Even what we think of as greedy is relative - and loss of prosperity we already have can feel more real than loss of future opportunity. And, of course, perceptions of the validity of our thinking and decisions and the effectiveness of our choices are slippery things and subject to manipulation. I think this may be even worse within the context of commercial decision making, where longer term, external consequences can be left out of decision making completely or even become incorporated into decisions to lobby, advertise and otherwise oppose regulatory actions on these issues.

    All in all it's not a good outlook for making good long range choices, especially when an element of desperation enters into it. Desperation seriously skews choices away from longer term consequences to immediate and short term outcomes. So the worse the problems get the harder it will be to get global issues like climate and biodiversity loss dealt with in a sensible way. Which may be why I have such a problem with Skeptic's position. He may sincerely hold the views he does but they aren't consistent with how serious and urgent they are; the window of opportunity to use the advantages of knowledge based forecasting of consequences combined with relative wealth and abundance of resources looks quite small and near term to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    Barbi, perhaps part of the mess we are in is because we are too easily diverted from thinking too deeply. And we are not so good at turning deeper knowledge into action when we do. Understanding via science of the consequences of our collective actions is generally remote from the decisions we make individually. Even what we think of as greedy is relative - and loss of prosperity we already have can feel more real than loss of future opportunity. And, of course, perceptions of the validity of our thinking and decisions and the effectiveness of our choices are slippery things and subject to manipulation. I think this may be even worse within the context of commercial decision making, where longer term, external consequences can be left out of decision making completely or even become incorporated into decisions to lobby, advertise and otherwise oppose regulatory actions on these issues.

    All in all it's not a good outlook for making good long range choices, especially when an element of desperation enters into it. Desperation seriously skews choices away from longer term consequences to immediate and short term outcomes. So the worse the problems get the harder it will be to get global issues like climate and biodiversity loss dealt with in a sensible way. Which may be why I have such a problem with Skeptic's position. He may sincerely hold the views he does but they aren't consistent with how serious and urgent they are; the window of opportunity to use the advantages of knowledge based forecasting of consequences combined with relative wealth and abundance of resources looks quite small and near term to me.

    Ken, I admire your writing skills and your deep desire for action to be taken regarding the global environment. I do think deeply on many issues but with so many people that don't, therefore they don't even bother to listen to you, its gets frustrating to even bother talking at all. The past few years I was divided on whether the human race would actually evolve to act more responsible with our planet's health and some days I thought they could but mostly I feel that the human race will end up suffering due to the consequences of all the generations before them.

    Many cities you can see the air pollution and many people have respiration health issues but is anything done about it? NO! Air pollution is something we got accustomed too instead of what the masses should have demanded that something be done about it. Every generation after us will get accustomed to the current environment and it won't get noticed too much since they did not live years ago and don't have that prior environment to compare it too.

    We are probably the only species that can envision the future environment based on our current destructive patterns now but if we don't use that knowledge, what was the advantage to having that ability trait? The current opinion of science of the past's living biodiversity is that 99% became extinct so it is assumed we will become extinct too. However, what if they are wrong and those creatures changed in appearance through descent with modification with extinctions being rare? Our fossil record might just be a snapshot of what they once looked liked but through many future generations, those creatures look like they do today.

    If that is really the case, our attitude towards being careless about wiping out the other species simply because we believe that future biodiversity can generate itself from a few species would be a tradegy to our perception of life. Our species would be totally responsible for wiping out all those lines of descent that went back to the origin of life in a very short time frame in our existence. You can't believe genetics when they say it didn't happen this way because they have been wrong on alot of things so far especially when it comes to dating the genes.

    There are many areas where our so called intelligence is many times more dangerous to the planet's health and we probably might have been better off if we did not have any intelligence. This way the human species could not be held responsible for their actions just like all the species that lived before us were not responsible for the environment destruction.
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  56. #356  
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    Some people fail to realise that their views are based on their personalities - not on scientific data.

    Like talking of how we accept air pollution because we have gotten accustomed to it. That is total crap. In the western world there is an ongoing and energetic movement to reduce air pollution, which actually works. We have not seen the terrible Victorian era London smogs since the Clean Air Act. We have gotten rid of lead in exhausts. There is no longer acid rain. New laws and technologies continuously reduce air pollution and will continue to do so. Air pollution, as we once knew it, is now a phenomenon of third world nations, and even they are making a start on killing it.

    The world contains 'glass half empty' and 'glass half full' people. The solid data does not show that some are right and others are wrong. It shows that both are right and wrong.

    When people on this thread wax lyrical about how correct their pessimism is, it makes me annoyed. Both optimism and pessimism are inappropriate. There are problems, and there are solutions. It is simply a case of how those people in power will recognise the former and implement the latter.

    On global warming, we now have a situation in which Europe is acting to mitigate things, but the major culprits in the USA, India , and China (and to a lesser degree, the deforesting nations of Brazil and Indonesia) are refusing to, with assorted excuses. When I point this out, I am not failing to accept a problem exists. I am trying to get the people who have unrealistic expectations to face reality.

    When I suggest we promote the development of new technologies, this is a response to the fact that the USA, India and China will not go down the other path. So when one tactic fails, it is appropriate to promote another. There is nothing less sane that trying the same thing over and over, and failing, and then trying to tell everyone to do it all again. That is pure lunacy. Try something different!
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Some people fail to realise that their views are based on their personalities - not on scientific data.

    Like talking of how we accept air pollution because we have gotten accustomed to it. That is total crap. In the western world there is an ongoing and energetic movement to reduce air pollution, which actually works. We have not seen the terrible Victorian era London smogs since the Clean Air Act. We have gotten rid of lead in exhausts. There is no longer acid rain. New laws and technologies continuously reduce air pollution and will continue to do so. Air pollution, as we once knew it, is now a phenomenon of third world nations, and even they are making a start on killing it.

    The world contains 'glass half empty' and 'glass half full' people. The solid data does not show that some are right and others are wrong. It shows that both are right and wrong.

    When people on this thread wax lyrical about how correct their pessimism is, it makes me annoyed. Both optimism and pessimism are inappropriate. There are problems, and there are solutions. It is simply a case of how those people in power will recognise the former and implement the latter.

    On global warming, we now have a situation in which Europe is acting to mitigate things, but the major culprits in the USA, India , and China (and to a lesser degree, the deforesting nations of Brazil and Indonesia) are refusing to, with assorted excuses. When I point this out, I am not failing to accept a problem exists. I am trying to get the people who have unrealistic expectations to face reality.

    When I suggest we promote the development of new technologies, this is a response to the fact that the USA, India and China will not go down the other path. So when one tactic fails, it is appropriate to promote another. There is nothing less sane that trying the same thing over and over, and failing, and then trying to tell everyone to do it all again. That is pure lunacy. Try something different!
    In Arizona on our freeways there are signs that tell us high pollution alert today. People are advised to stay indoors on high levels of air pollution so what planet are you on that has delt with air pollution?
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  58. #358  
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    This planet.

    I did not say there was no air pollution, which you would see if you bothered to read my post more carefully. I said it was being dealt with, and there is less every year in the western world. Only in third world nations is air pollution as bad as it was in the west 50 years ago.

    I get this a lot. Pessimists completely overlook the progress that has been made, because they are focussed on the next problem. That is a badly unbalanced view. I do not deny problems. I accept them and accept that there are still lots to be done. I see no end in this process of solving one set of problems only to have to turn to the next set. Yet every year, people live longer. People gain new 'toys' that deliver more stimulation than our forebears had. We learn more. We develop more tools to aid the learning process. Human welfare improves all the time.

    This is a process that began when the first pre-human ancestor picked up a rock to bash a rotten logs, to get at the juicy grubs more effectively. Humans have been improving their capabilities ever since, and continue to do so. Along the way problems arise, which humans, as superlative problem solvers, tackle and fix.

    The problems in general are less. Where once, we had to worry about being eaten by a tiger, we now worry that tigers are becoming less common. I do not know about you, but I prefer the latter worry!

    Pessimists forget the problems that have been solved. They forget that they are living longer and healthier lives than any time in history or pre-history. They forget that violence is decreasing year by year. Homicide rates are dropping. Pollution is being cracked. New technologies improve our lives.

    Pessimists are so hung up on their latest negative 'cause' that they fail to understand the progress that is constantly going on under their noses. This is what I mean by personality determining response. A pessimist will always find something to worry about. If heaven existed, and they were translated to Paradise, they would immediately start looking for something they could complain about.
    Last edited by skeptic; January 25th, 2012 at 06:06 PM.
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    The world contains 'glass half empty' and 'glass half full' people. The solid data does not show that some are right and others are wrong. It shows that both are right and wrong.
    I think the problem is it's mostly only the "half empty" people who get off their butt and do what ever they can to fix the problems, whether it's writing their congressmen, taking a bus, or chaining themselves to a fence. The half-full folks usually do nothing. You can guess which I've been most of my life--from stopping a housing development in Maine from backfilling my favorite trout stream which just happened to have a pair of bald eagles nesting close by to spending countless hours slogging up Vermont's Green mountain slopes to survey pond life during the early 80s and than presenting the results to an acid rain hearing mitigation--results entirely consistent with what was already 20 years of data suggesting massive ecological damage was already happening. Later, in the 90s, I'd do some writting to support the Elwha dam removal project--something that started this year (and I'll probably be around long enough to see nearly full restoration--perhaps do a repeat hike of the valley)

    While I detest falsifying environmental information, I hate ignoring problems to chase the last 10% of certainty entirely foolish and irresponsible--collectively as a society we are doing exactly that across many fronts.
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  60. #360  
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    There is optimism and there is false optimism. We have powerful vested interests involved in organised efforts to encourage pessimism about the trustworthiness of science on climate, pessimism about how pointless - and even dangerous - serious efforts to remake our energy infrastructure are, false optimism for how little climate change will impact our lives and false optimism for how readily the problems arising will be solved if it turns out to be necessary, sometime in the future. All in all we have the perfect mix of pessimism and optimism to prevent any serious action for the foreseeable future. During which emissions growth will continue and be ever harder to haul back.

    Meanwhile, simultaneously to seeing increased growth of emissions well above the most pessimistic scenarious of a decade ago, progressively improved understanding of our climate is showing that the overall global temperature rise that will cause dangerous anthropogenic interference is lower than previously thought. It's looking like the 2 degrees C global target that most nations are treating as optional 'aspirational' goals that they are unwilling to enact policy to achieve, that only wild eyed extremists like myself think worth sacrificing anything for, is more like the threshold between dangerous climate change and very dangerous climate change.

    From the US National Academy of Sciences "Assessing dangerous climate change through an update of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ‘‘reasons for concern’’

    From the Royal Society "Beyond ‘dangerous’ climate change: emission scenarios for a new world"
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  61. #361  
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    So, Ken, you appear to be saying there's no point in trying to do anything, while skeptic and Lynx seem to be saying we should keep trying to make things better. Personally, I'm in the latter camp.
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  62. #362  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fabos View Post
    There is optimism and there is false optimism. We have powerful vested interests involved in organised efforts to encourage pessimism about the trustworthiness of science on climate, pessimism about how pointless - and even dangerous - serious efforts to remake our energy infrastructure are, false optimism for how little climate change will impact our lives and false optimism for how readily the problems arising will be solved if it turns out to be necessary, sometime in the future. All in all we have the perfect mix of pessimism and optimism to prevent any serious action for the foreseeable future. During which emissions growth will continue and be ever harder to haul back.
    It's absolutely stunning how successful they've been at this.

    This week for example, climate change wasn't mentioned once during the Florida republican debate....NOT ONCE.
    Astounding, considering Florida is without any doubt the most vulnerable state in the nation to climate change. The journal of Climate change, in an unprecedented move, dedicated an entire issue to Florida this past summer--that's the equivalence of of a scientific bullhorn. Here are some of the highlights, 7% of Florida will be underwater by mid century, including the keys, Miami, tens of thousands of homes, hundreds of hospitals displacing 1.5 million people.

    According to one economic study by Tuffs University of the impact to Florida, in todays dollars " These include an average loss of $27 billion per year to Florida's economy, nearly 300,000 jobs lost as early as 2025, and annual economic losses to Florida projected to grow to $93 billion and 700,000 jobs by 2050. "
    http://ase.tufts.edu/gdae/Pubs/rp/FloridaClimate.html

    All this and we can't one question in the President debate?!!!!
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  63. #363  
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    This planet.

    I did not say there was no air pollution, which you would see if you bothered to read my post more carefully. I said it was being dealt with, and there is less every year in the western world. Only in third world nations is air pollution as bad as it was in the west 50 years ago.

    I get this a lot. Pessimists completely overlook the progress that has been made, because they are focussed on the next problem. That is a badly unbalanced view. I do not deny problems. I accept them and accept that there are still lots to be done. I see no end in this process of solving one set of problems only to have to turn to the next set. Yet every year, people live longer. People gain new 'toys' that deliver more stimulation than our forebears had. We learn more. We develop more tools to aid the learning process. Human welfare improves all the time.

    This is a process that began when the first pre-human ancestor picked up a rock to bash a rotten logs, to get at the juicy grubs more effectively. Humans have been improving their capabilities ever since, and continue to do so. Along the way problems arise, which humans, as superlative problem solvers, tackle and fix.

    The problems in general are less. Where once, we had to worry about being eaten by a tiger, we now worry that tigers are becoming less common. I do not know about you, but I prefer the latter worry!

    Pessimists forget the problems that have been solved. They forget that they are living longer and healthier lives than any time in history or pre-history. They forget that violence is decreasing year by year. Homicide rates are dropping. Pollution is being cracked. New technologies improve our lives.

    Pessimists are so hung up on their latest negative 'cause' that they fail to understand the progress that is constantly going on under their noses. This is what I mean by personality determining response. A pessimist will always find something to worry about. If heaven existed, and they were translated to Paradise, they would immediately start looking for something they could complain about.

    I was not alive decades ago to compare the differences of the environment to today. I also have lungs that is very sensitive to air pollution so sorry that I don't share your opinion on the subject.
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  64. #364  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbi View Post
    I was not alive decades ago to compare the differences of the environment to today. I also have lungs that is very sensitive to air pollution so sorry that I don't share your opinion on the subject.
    So because you weren't alive, it didn't happen?

    Just one example: Great Smog - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (not unique)
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    Meteor, It's not me saying it's pointless. I'm saying that we need to drop the illusions about it - both that it's too hard, and that it's not that hard. PR, lobbying, advertising is undermining motivation to act and it's well organised, well funded and backed by captains of commerce and politicians at the highest levels. It's got a whole lot of angles now, each well aimed at each and every reason and excuses that works to undermine public willingness to support serious action. Skeptic's position reflects several of the most potent of the persuasive arguments for putting off immediate action. I'm pessimistic, not about our potential to deal with the climate problem effectively but that our combined will to do so will be so thoroughly undermined that extremely dangerous climate change will be made unavoidable well before the will to act can be mobilised. And it's being done by the cynical use of the tools of public persuasion by people who know better.

    Australia's media, far from indulging in exaggerations about dangerous climate change, are increasingly giving consistent critical editorial spin against the minimal policy efforts made so far. The problems of leaving dangerous climate change unaddressed is being ignored by them into popular and political irrelevance. If Australia's media has given mention to recent assessments of climate science that indicate the threshold between dangerous climate change and extremely dangerous climate change is lower than previously thought I'm not aware of it. The Right, where it's come to power at State level has been undoing policy support for emissions reduction and renewables. This is not happening in combination with support for nuclear or any low emissions infrastructure - they are giving full support to long term reliance on fossil fuels and making the task for future governments more difficult. The strength of the political parties here that oppose action on climate is growing whilst critical analysis of the longer term consequences almost non-existent in mainstream media. Climate has been shifted from newsworthy and topical into the documentary category of entertainment. I suspect that this is not unique to Australia.

    It's not me saying it's pointless. I'm furious at seeing people in positions of trust abandoning their principles to become willing parts of a campaign that will keep us rich and comfortable now - at the cost of our future. I'm dismayed that people who insist they believe the problem is real readily trot out the same arguments that organised opposition to action do - it's other nations' faults, it's pointless until everyone does it at the same time, only crackpots push for rapid change against overwhelming inertia, opposing decisions already made at higher levels is unrealistic, just wait and we'll be richer and have better solutions. And the extreme dangers to our world and way of life are exaggeration of one side of a political debate ...
    Last edited by Ken Fabos; January 26th, 2012 at 04:34 PM.
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    "...critical analysis of the longer term consequences almost non-existent in mainstream media."

    One thing that's struck me forcibly is the treatment of the Murray-Darling plan. A bare couple of years ago the creeks and rivers feeding into the system were mere trickles where they weren't dry and dusty. Now people are saying that the rivers are full, we're worrying about flood damage, so what's the problem? I've yet to see a reporter respond to such inanity with the obvious response - but we're the "land of droughts and flooding rains" what's going to happen when the droughts come back? Nil, nothing, nada, zilch, zero.

    So when the droughts return, what will happen? It'll all come as a horrible surprise? Again?
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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