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Thread: Seeking Clarification on the debate between climate change nay-sayers and supporters

  1. #1 Seeking Clarification on the debate between climate change nay-sayers and supporters 
    Forum Freshman Eldritch's Avatar
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    While I rarely agree with most of the points that the nay-sayers for climate change try to waive, I am still curious because I wonder if there are any good reasons other than "political conspiracy". First, why this shift of calling it global warming to climate change? I recall having been told that supporters have had to admit that the planet average temperature is cooling, not heating, and thus climate change is bunk. I have uncertainties here, thus I ask for insight.
    I recall hearing things about the ozone layer awhile back; what was that about?
    Where can I find thoroughly and entirely reliable sources, safe from political bias on such issues? What is the probability/level of corruption within the subject as it is and why?
    Finally: are there scientists, real scientists, that dispute climate change?
    Thanks for any answers!


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  3. #2  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    First, why this shift of calling it global warming to climate change?
    Because we don't like media buzz words in the sciences. Tell a physicist you don't believe in the "God Particle" because they renamed it "Higgs boson" and he might punch you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    I recall having been told that supporters have had to admit that the planet average temperature is cooling, not heating, and thus climate change is bunk.
    Depends upon the time frame you're examining. On a geologic level, the planet is warming fairly rapidly. Yes, our planet has natural trends over very large periods of time, but we're exceeding what we would normally expect. In addition, the whole thing with natural trends would basically suggest we wait another hundred thousand years to be SURE the planet is undergoing abnormal temperature changes before we act.

    On a small scale, we may see warm periods for a decade or cool periods for a decade.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    I recall hearing things about the ozone layer awhile back; what was that about?
    I'm assuming it's got to do with the depletion of the ozone layer in some areas due to things like CFCs which are largely banned because of their hazards.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    Where can I find thoroughly and entirely reliable sources, safe from political bias on such issues?
    Peer reviewed scientific journals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    What is the probability/level of corruption within the subject as it is and why?
    A lot of money can be made avoiding environmental law (trust me, it's my field of expertise). The rich and powerful would rather there be confusion about the issue so they can take the opportunity to act and make money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    Finally: are there scientists, real scientists, that dispute climate change?
    The FACT is that there is no climate change debate among scientists. It is wholly manufactured by the media and those feeding them their information. I have never met someone involved in the environmental sciences who does not believe our climate is undergoing changes which man has in SOME way influenced that are going to severely impact our lifestyle if we ignore them. The only issue is the degree to which man-made influences are affecting this change.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Freshman Eldritch's Avatar
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    Thanks to the both of you. Flick, isn't the rise of temperature as it is, regardless of whether or not it is a true geological long-term increase, potentially dangerous to us?
    Climate change also causes more erratic/powerful weather rather than simply warmer weather, yes?
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  5. #4  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    Thanks to the both of you. Flick, isn't the rise of temperature as it is, regardless of whether or not it is a true geological long-term increase, potentially dangerous to us?
    Sure. Last summer's heat wave was one of the deadliest natural events in American history. On a geologic scale, however, it isn't so much the temperature that is dangerous as all the effects a long term rise in temperatures causes. Loss of permafrost can mean soil degradation and loss of human habitations, rising ocean levels from ice melt (one of the most dangerous and expensive of all the predicted outcomes) could destroy countless habitations and displace millions, warming ocean temperatures can evolve more powerful hurricanes and typhoons. The list goes on and on and we probably don't even know about many potential issues as they are just too complex to calculate all of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldritch View Post
    Climate change also causes more erratic/powerful weather rather than simply warmer weather, yes?
    As I mentioned with the hurricanes, it certainly can. Warm-core events like hurricanes draw their energy from ocean temperatures. This could mean more flooding in some areas and potentially greater droughts in others.
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    There is no scientific debate...the vast majority of atmospheric researchers, and every agency, concluded decades ago that human burning of fossil fuels is heating the atmosphere and will likely push temperatures past any seen by our species.

    Most science organizations are relatively free of political influence (despite what some will say). Probably the most comprehensive source of information will be the IPCC reports, the last is somewhat dated, being a few year old, but a new one is coming out in several months.
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  7. #6  
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    Eldritch, the IPCC always was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, not Global Warming, but both were common usage. There was the 1956 paper "The Carbon dioxide theory of Climate Change", by Gilbert Plass, so that term goes way back.

    I have found those urging action on the issue have used both interchangeably. The only documented evidence of deliberate use of one term over the other, in order to alter public perceptions was by political interests that wanted to downplay the seriousness of the problem - Republican pollster, strategist and GW Bush advisor Frank Luntz -

    It’s time for us to start talking about “climate change” instead of global warming and “conservation” instead of preservation.
    because -

    “Climate change” is less frightening than “global warming”. As one focus group participant noted, climate change “sounds like you’re going from Pittsburgh to Fort Lauderdale.” While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.
    Apparently he was instrumental in other focused, and apparently successful use of terminology to affect public perceptions - "energy exploration" instead of "oil drilling", "death tax" instead of "inheritance tax".

    Accusing the other side of doing what is their own standard practice appears to be ... standard practice for climate policy obstructionists.
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    There is no scientific debate...the vast majority of atmospheric researchers, and every agency, concluded decades ago that human burning of fossil fuels is heating the atmosphere and will likely push temperatures past any seen by our species. ... .
    Context: The genus HOMO has lived it's entirety in an ice age!

    Maybe a mass suicide at the end of this ice age could keep that statement (almost?)true for eternity.

    But then again, we ain't yet up to, nor near, the estimated maximum temperatures of the superinterglacials (remember my then favorite 50 foot tall woman--Julie Brigham-Grette. Univ of Mass-Amherst? lake el'gygytgyn?)(she's leading a group discussing Cenozoic climate history, at the fall meeting of the agu---with her contribution most likely being information from her recent drilling in the arctic pacific?) sounds fun?

    and the odds of anthropogenic atmospheric forcing being able to top those temperatures ain't good.

    So, maybe, just maybe your:
    human burning of fossil fuels is heating the atmosphere and will likely push temperatures past any seen by our species
    is overshooting the mark just a dad(or more)?

    One might say that we are living in an unintended experiment into the nature of our earth. Will our genious for adaptability prevail yet once again?
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    Will our genious for adaptability prevail yet once again?
    What genius for adaptability? You said it yourself. Our species has lived its entire time on this earth in an ice age. And, I might add, we very nearly didn't make it. There's reasonable evidence that at one stage our population was reduced drastically.

    Our main strategy for "adaptability" has been to move on from areas that became uninhabitable - usually for lack of water (or we had otherwise wrecked the joint). Where, exactly, can we move to now? We inhabit every single inhabitable and barely inhabitable niche on this planet. There are 7 billion of us.

    The only way we got to that 7 billion was because we found a way to turn fossils into food - both by creating fossil-based fertilisers and by using fossils for power to run water pumps and to transport the food produced. When one particular fossil, oil, runs out or becomes too expensive for fertiliser use, what will we feed ourselves with then?
    "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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  10. #9  
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    don't forget the way we have been exploiting myriad ecological niches since homo invented fire. we've survived the ice and the interglacials. sea levels 30 meters higher and 100 meters lower, earthquakes, vulcanism, plague, fire, snow and war, -60 to 120 degrees F, drought disease and famine

    not bad for a naked ape.
    We don't just survive by running away, we build.

    we've learned how to deforest our habitats and turn them into deserts, and learned how to reverse that folly.
    We screw up alot. we learn and move on
    genious
    we lose one ecological niche and find or make another
    Have faith child, this show ain't over yet.
    We're just (literally?) getting warmed up.


    .....................
    as/re:
    Our main strategy for "adaptability" has been to move on from areas that became uninhabitable - usually for lack of water (or we had otherwise wrecked the joint).
    look again
    the main driver for our migrations has been climate change
    glaciation to interglacials, lower to higher sea levels, and inventions like boats which allowed migration to islands(and likely the americas) at least 30-60000 years ago

    We learn, we adapt
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  11. #10  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    I find the notion that humans can adapt to global climate changes over the course of only a couple hundred years to be dubious.

    While we may be able to shelter ourselves from storms, move our houses away from the coast and out of the flood plains, or endure temperature extremes, the rest of the natural world cannot.

    How do humans persist when mosquito populations explode from early spring and late fall and become an even greater disease vector? How do we adapt to crops that cannot grow in fields turned to dust? How do we continue to survive when the food chain collapses and the natural world experiences a massive die-off?

    We cannot build our way out of the coming storm. We must fundamentally alter the way we interact with our planet.
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  12. #11  
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    Flick
    How did we survive when tobo blew and plunged the world(which was already in a glaciation period) into a deepfreeze within weeks and which may have kept us 6-12 degrees colderthan normal for a period of glaciation for up to 10,000 years(conservative estimates put that # at 6000 years. We almost didn't; some estimates placed the survivors at less than 10,000 people(which I suspect is a tad on the low side). Lesson: Ice kills, nothing grows under glaciers.

    The studies following the lake e studies, have placed the world 14 degrees warmer than our current averages while paleo co2 was at 400ppm

    As/re crops. I am concerned that the high plains crops that rely on the ogallala aquifer may be gone within a generation.
    The USA is still the worlds largest exporter of food. That may not be true when that aquifer has been drained to the point where it can no longer sustain those crops. Some years, the rains may be enough, but in some(most?) years that will not be enough. And if we lose that productivity, surely our exports will fall, and those who rely on that excess production from us may have a hungry time of it.

    How can we survive? How have we always survived in the past? Our greatest strength has been our ability to control rapid release of stored energy. This may now seem to be our greatest weakness, but without that ability, our population must surely fall greatly.

    meanwhile:
    NASA scientist Compton Tucker found that he could map global vegetation changes by calculating a "Normalized Difference Vegetation Index" (NDVI) from the data produced by a satellite sensor. The data confirmed Mr. Keeling's (whose studies showed the co2 increases)suspicion: Greenery was on the increase. At first, this was thought to be a northern phenomenon, caused by faster growth in the great spruce and birch forests of Siberia and Canada, but the satellites showed it was happening all over the world and especially strongly in the Amazon and African rain forests.
    Using the NDVI, one team reported that "over the last few decades of the 20th century, terrestrial ecosystems acted as net carbon sinks," i.e., they absorbed more carbon than they were emitting, and "net greening was reported in all biomes,"
    In part, this is what disproved Hansen's earlier predictions(as he himself has noted).

    You must always use your own reasoning abilities when contemplating data from climate models.
    eg: The more CO2 we pump into the atmosphere, the faster and bigger grow the plants, and the bigger they grow, the more CO2 they consume.
    There is a counterbalancing curve embodied therein for which we still lack accurate models.
    It ain't nearly as simple as some might think and/or claim.

    The simple fact remains that we cannot accurately predict the outcome of the current anthropogenic atmospheric forcing.
    We're not even certain if the occurence of SSW events is on the rise.
    What we do know, is that we continue to enrich the atmosphere with co2 and particulates(even after subtracting what the plants and oceans sequester). What we suspect is that these have opposite effects as/re warming.
    So, perhaps, much like LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, the balance may be much more important than the absolute numbers.

    One thing I feel confident in from my studies into psychology is that : If you know that you cannot survive, you will not survive- if you think that you cannot win, you will not win.
    some sacrifices must/will be made.
    Think of lawns for example--almost completely non productive of the land they occupy. Thousands upon thousands of fertile acreage wasted. And the mowing of them puts lots more co2 and other polutants into the atmosphere,
    by one estimate:

    Amount of lawn in the United States: 40.5 million acres
    Total amount of money spent on lawn care: $30 billion
    Percent of residential water used outside: 30 to 60%
    Amount of water used daily for residential irrigation: more than 7 billion gallons
    Amount of fertilizers used on lawns annually: 3 million tons
    Percent reduction of nitrogen fertilizer needed if clippings left on lawn: about 50%
    Amount of synthetic pesticides used on lawns annually: over 30 thousand tons
    Ratio of pesticide use per acre by the average homeowner versus the average farmer: 10 to 1

    Imagine if that waste were turned into food-stuffs productivity.
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  13. #12  
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    Imagine if that waste were turned into food-stuffs productivity.
    And reduced the load of pesticides in the environment as a fairly significant bonus.

    Sounds like s win all round.
    "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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