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Thread: Convince me about climate change

  1. #1 Convince me about climate change 
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    I accept we have serious impacts on our environment and our weather, etc. etc. My real doubt comes in at carbon dioxide. From the research I've done, it seems that while excess amounts of CO2 aren't good, the percentage we add to the atmosphere compared to natural fluctuations in CO2 doesn't even compare to other, more harmful chemicals/greenhouse gases we release. Why is CO2 considered so bad when there is already a lot of it and the atmosphere has built in methods of dealing with excess amounts? Sure, those methods may not be able to keep up with the amount we put out, but it seems the atmosphere isn't equipped to handle certain other gases at all. So why is CO2 the primary focus? It might be our primary emission, but I've hard trouble finding reliable data on why carbon dioxide is so bad. (Plenty of data on both sides, most seem to have a serious motive so I find it difficult to trust them.) I've found plenty of hard numbers on why many other gases are clearly terrible, though.

    I'm also skeptical that the primary negative consequence is a change in temperature. I've seen plenty of proof on regional effects that are admittedly bad, but less that the overall temperature is changed one way or the other in a non-marginal way. Ozone is a little odd to me, too. I've seen proof that various chemicals we've released eat away the ozone horribly, and it is easy to believe a continuos assault of such emissions keeps it from repairing itself, but the ozone does repair relatively quickly. What are the worst long term effects of depleting ozone, in that case? (Just curious here, not really trying to make a strong case one way or the other.)

    Finally, it seems to me climate change is one symptom of the overall issue of over consumption. Why does it seem to be the holy grail of environmentalism? Is it truly the most important issue? Is it sensationalist media/political parasites like Al Gore that have pushed it into the spotlight in lieu of equally noble pursuits? Or should lowering emissions really be our primary environmentalist concern?

    From my vantage point, and I've followed the issue since early high school, it looks like none of the major groups on either side of the fence have made very accurate predictions with their data. Which makes it difficult to trust their future predictions.

    Anyway, I'm curious what you have to say. Totally open to the data, though I won't be surprised if some people get emotional and blast me for it. Whatever.

    Thanks, everyone.


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    Plenty of data on both side
    There is no "both sides." There's only one valid position based on overwhelming scientific evidence; the other is completely trumped up, fossil fuels funded disinformation campaign that does no scientific research.

    --
    But rather then catch you up on the past century + of really basic science, you should probably take a gander at this than start asking questions.

    How do we know more CO2 is causing warming?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Plenty of data on both side
    There is no "both sides." There's only one valid position based on overwhelming scientific evidence; the other is completely trumped up, fossil fuels funded disinformation campaign that does no scientific research.

    --
    But rather then catch you up on the past century + of really basic science, you should probably take a gander at this than start asking questions.

    How do we know more CO2 is causing warming?
    I'm not denying that CO2 causes climate change. I've seen numbers for it. I've seen worse numbers for other chemicals, I just doubt the scale that CO2 itself allegedly causes it, but this could change. It seems like there's much worse stuff out there from the research I've done. But most research I've done has been biased sources from both sides, so I hold a very soft opinion that wouldn't be that hard to change. But I'll read your article. I was hoping people would point me towards reliable articles. Rather than rehash the same untrustworthy articles on a topic I'm not that up to date on, it seems better to throw my doubts out there and if they are wrong, people who are better educated can probably prove it to me. If my doubts are valid, they may be validated. I'm pretty open.
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    Ask specific questions with some links to the sort of things you are reading that are leading to your questions. You are being too broad and unfocused to have a meaningful discussion in this part of the forum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Ask specific questions with some links to the sort of things you are reading that are leading to your questions. You are being too broad and unfocused to have a meaningful discussion in this part of the forum.
    Sure, I'll try and find them. I doubt I can find it all but I can probably find some. Like I said, this isn't a topic I know that well about. It's not as personally interesting to me as other areas of science, so I'm not super literate in it, but I figure if it is as relevant to the state of the world right now I should know. I'll read your link before I try and find the studies. The easiest thing to find will probably be the studies about ozone repair and percentage of extra CO2 we are responsible for compared to other greenhouse gases. Part of the reason I am skeptical about the scale/seemingly sensationalist claims is an analysis written by people who totally believe in Global Warming or what have you but step by step on why Inconvenient Truth was total posturing with equal parts real evidence and fabricated ones in addition to a number of reports I've read having strong political incentives. Of course, this isn't fair on my part, since a fraud on one side of an issue isn't an indication that his whole side is wrong. Just that people capitalize on anything they can. And a study funded by big oil to denounce global warming is of course crooked, and that wouldn't be anything new. So I'm skeptical and think I'm more like to find answers asking real people than the cesspool which Google can be. Hence my thread.
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    Laying out the convincing evidence for climate change would take up an entire book.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Laying out the convincing evidence for climate change would take up an entire book.
    Again, it's not that I don't believe in Climate Change, I just doubt the scale. This is not set in stone, of course. And there are many books on the subject. I'd be willing to read one if it is concise, relatively easy for a layman to follow, and addresses the issue thoroughly enough to touch on my concerns. If I get a few people educated on the subject to recommend one I may kindle it/amazon it. I don't expect an essay written by a member of this form, but I am sick of trawling through the internet not knowing what claims are true, false, or mostly true but exaggerated.
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    Can you be more specific? You don't think it is a global thing or you don't think the change will be as drastic as models suggest?
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    What are the worst long term effects of depleting ozone, in that case?
    Ozone? Think about it. Why was life confined entirely to the ocean until the tiny critters in the sea had produced enough oxygen for there to be an ozone layer high in the atmosphere?

    Life on the surface of the earth cannot survive the unfiltered radiation from the sun. We need an ozone layer, preferably without gaps or holes.

    My real doubt comes in at carbon dioxide.
    1. Carbon dioxide isn't a "nasty" gas of the kind that create smog or poisonous fumes.

    2. Carbon dioxide is a great boon to us because life as we know it wouldn't exist if the atmospheric temperature was at the level it would be without it. At -21C, and no sources of CO2 to reset the greenhouse effect going, earth would be permanently frozen. There wouldn't even be any snow - because that precipitates from water vapour in the atmosphere. Without CO2 there's nothing to set the water evaporation-precipitation cycle going. Carbon dioxide prevents Earth from becoming an ice world

    From my vantage point, and I've followed the issue since early high school, it looks like none of the major groups on either side of the fence have made very accurate predictions with their data. Which makes it difficult to trust their future predictions.


    That's where you go wrong. Svante Arrhenius worked out the likely global temperature effects of a doubling of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. It took him aaages, he did the whole thing in pen and ink after all, but the calculations he demonstrated in 1896 have never been shown to be wrong, he'd just left out some factors (which he didn't have any way of measuring anyway. We're still having trouble with calculating the pluses and minuses in the effects of clouds.) Of course, he was a Scandinavian who found cold conditions unpleasant. He thought the idea that increased burning of fossils would warm the globe was A Good Thing.

    I don't know what "predictions" you're saying are wrong on the part of scientists. They've been pretty spot on in projections of temperature and sea level rise. Whenever I've seen reports that "they were wrong" it's been because the accuser has failed to use the right emissions scenarios to compare to the atmospheric or ocean temperature rise and, adding insult to injury, they've made the comparison on a too short and/or cherry-picked time basis. Has to be a minimum of 30 years if we want to talk climate - I prefer 50 to 100 years myself. Unfortunately, the world of science doesn't dance to my tune.

    They've been woefully wrong on the expected rate of loss of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets as well as in rates of increase of extreme weather events. The observations of these things are running several decades ahead of the projections made in the earlier IPCC reports.

    And we should never, ever forget global warming's big bully brother. This one's always ready to remind us how much worse things can get, ocean acidification.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Can you be more specific? You don't think it is a global thing or you don't think the change will be as drastic as models suggest?
    I doubt that the amount of CO2 we put in the atmosphere compared to how much is already there will have as drastic an effect as the models suggest, yes. I don't doubt this just from my head, I've read multiple papers saying as much, but as I've said I don't really trust those papers any more than I trust the likes of Al Gore. I'm not sure exactly what to believe, and have had trouble finding non-contradictory data. Many sources against global warming seem to be financially motivated, while sources I've found for global warming have intentionally manipulated data. Most places I seem to look have a political motive and I don't know where to find the good stuff without an investment of my time I am unwilling to commit.

    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    What are the worst long term effects of depleting ozone, in that case?
    Ozone? Think about it. Why was life confined entirely to the ocean until the tiny critters in the sea had produced enough oxygen for there to be an ozone layer high in the atmosphere?

    Life on the surface of the earth cannot survive the unfiltered radiation from the sun. We need an ozone layer, preferably without gaps or holes.

    My real doubt comes in at carbon dioxide.
    1. Carbon dioxide isn't a "nasty" gas of the kind that create smog or poisonous fumes.

    2. Carbon dioxide is a great boon to us because life as we know it wouldn't exist if the atmospheric temperature was at the level it would be without it. At -21C, and no sources of CO2 to reset the greenhouse effect going, earth would be permanently frozen. There wouldn't even be any snow - because that precipitates from water vapour in the atmosphere. Without CO2 there's nothing to set the water evaporation-precipitation cycle going. Carbon dioxide prevents Earth from becoming an ice world

    From my vantage point, and I've followed the issue since early high school, it looks like none of the major groups on either side of the fence have made very accurate predictions with their data. Which makes it difficult to trust their future predictions.
    That's where you go wrong. Svante Arrhenius worked out the likely global temperature effects of a doubling of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. It took him aaages, he did the whole thing in pen and ink after all, but the calculations he demonstrated in 1896 have never been shown to be wrong, he'd just left out some factors (which he didn't have any way of measuring anyway. We're still having trouble with calculating the pluses and minuses in the effects of clouds.) Of course, he was a Scandinavian who found cold conditions unpleasant. He thought the idea that increased burning of fossils would warm the globe was A Good Thing.

    I don't know what "predictions" you're saying are wrong on the part of scientists. They've been pretty spot on in projections of temperature and sea level rise. Whenever I've seen reports that "they were wrong" it's been because the accuser has failed to use the right emissions scenarios to compare to the atmospheric or ocean temperature rise and, adding insult to injury, they've made the comparison on a too short and/or cherry-picked time basis. Has to be a minimum of 30 years if we want to talk climate - I prefer 50 to 100 years myself. Unfortunately, the world of science doesn't dance to my tune.

    They've been woefully wrong on the expected rate of loss of sea ice, glaciers and ice sheets as well as in rates of increase of extreme weather events. The observations of these things are running several decades ahead of the projections made in the earlier IPCC reports.

    And we should never, ever forget global warming's big bully brother. This one's always ready to remind us how much worse things can get, ocean acidification.
    Most of the predictions I'm aware of where initiatives driven by politicians, namely Al Gore, since those reached the public ear a lot more, in my experience. Models that accurately predicted current effects 20+ years in advance would be highly convincing to me. Accurate predictions get a lot of mileage.
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    If you just want us to point you to reliable articles, that's easy enough. I'm on my phone, but I'm sure Lynx or adelady could oblige.
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    Hang on. I've just re read some of your comments.

    I've seen numbers for it. I've seen worse numbers for other chemicals, I just doubt the scale that CO2 itself allegedly causes it, but this could change. It seems like there's much worse stuff out there from the research I've done.
    You seem to think the big issue is about the chemistry of gases. It's not. It's about the radiative physics of some gases.

    They're still called greenhouse gases even though the bloke - Fourier - who first used that term nearly 200 years ago didn't really understand how the effect actually worked. Tyndall worked that out during the 1850s-60s.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SowZ37 View Post
    Most of the predictions I'm aware of where initiatives driven by politicians, namely Al Gore, since those reached the public ear a lot more, in my experience. Models that accurately predicted current effects 20+ years in advance would be highly convincing to me. Accurate predictions get a lot of mileage.
    You should broaden your reading then. The 19th century predictions have already been mentioned. By the mid-1970s most of the scientific community and papers were already raising concerns about CO2 related warming, a trend that's become overwhelming evidence since. About ten years ago, Naimi Orlanski did some excellent work documenting this growth of climate understanding well before Al Gore even mentioned it. The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change
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    Models that accurately predicted current effects 20+ years in advance would be highly convincing to me. Accurate predictions get a lot of mileage.
    Nobody predicts anything. Scientists can't control how much/ how many/ how fast greenhouse gases are emitted by industries or countries. All they can do is a set of what-if projections. If greenhouse gases (generally referred to as CO2equivalents) are emitted at certain rates for a certain period of time, the response of the atmosphere/ocean climate system should be in a certain range.

    These are good references below - because each item gives all the references anyone could ever need to the scientific papers that are relevant to the article.

    RealClimate: The global temperature jigsaw

    RealClimate: Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half

    RealClimate: 2012 Updates to model-observation comparisons The summary from this last one sums up the views of most climate scientists.

    Summary
    The conclusion is the same as in each of the past few years; the models are on the low side of some changes, and on the high side of others, but despite short-term ups and downs, global warming continues much as predicted.
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    ...the percentage we add to the atmosphere compared to natural fluctuations in CO2 doesn't even compare to other, more harmful chemicals/greenhouse gases we release
    If this means that the CO2 we add would be insignificant then this reveals is a serious misunderstanding about how significant the additional CO2 is with respect to overall concentrations in the atmosphere.

    An analogy I like to use is the backyard swimming pool with a hose trickling into it; the amount from the hose is only a fraction of the amount of water entering the pool from all sources, with the greatest "source" being from the filter return outlet, yet this "insignificant" trickle can and will cause the water level to rise and overfill the pool. Like the water from the filter outlet the CO2 returning via natural fluctuations is not a source of new CO2 but is a return of what was taken out previously. For CO2 it's called The Carbon Cycle.

    Obviously it's not a perfect analogy - for one thing global vegetation, soil carbon and ocean carbon exchange would be more like a pool filter system that contains much more water than the pool itself. That the specific water molecules trickled in via the hose can take a long time to get through the filter system - if trickled in near the filter inlet for example, very little of the greater volume in the pool is the water from the hose - but it's been added to the whole pool and filter system, and therefore, despite the water level rise mostly containing older water that didn't come directly from the hose, the "insignificant trickle" is still causing the level to rise.
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    the other is completely trumped up, fossil fuels funded disinformation campaign that does no scientific research.
    So, the fossil fuel industry cares more about their company than the safety of the entire planet. Wow.
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    So, the fossil fuel industry cares more about their company than the safety of the entire planet. Wow.
    I've only really come around to this way of looking at things fairly recently. Despite being one of those feared "left-wing" radical type people, I'd always taken for granted the economic ideas and the industry self descriptions of the profit-oriented entrepreneurs being willing to turn their hand to new challenges and to find profitable ways to do that. I just didn't trust them to do it fairly and responsibly.

    Which meant that I truly. did. not. understand. why fossil companies weren't leaping into the arena of getting their hands on the bulk of the newest available source of big bucks in a changing economy. All I could see were billions of $$$$s just waiting for someone to grab them (and to use the same options of political pressure, lobbying for special tendering privileges, permanent subsidies, all the way through to the brazen bribery that they've always been able to draw on for their fossil interests). Why weren't these eager beaver money makers using their market muscle to get ahead of everyone else in the race to the future?

    It's not about profits at all I've eventually worked out. It's about the value of the shares in the fossil mining and processing and power infrastructure. The value of the companies depends on the valuation of the mines, prospecting leases and licences and the equipment and the railways, roads, ports, drilling rigs, and other infrastructure. If no one wants coal, then it's not just the power stations that have to convert to gas or close down. If everyone prefers electric cars, it's not just the refineries that lose value, it's all those drilling rigs, ports and storage depots, tankers on roads and oceans. The value of the fossil reserves, the mining and drilling equipment, the railways and pipelines for getting the extracted fossils to ports or power stations - all of it - is revalued downwards or, for most of it, written off. Basically, the fossil companies see themselves becoming like the old asbestos industries. Stranded assets with no value to be found and with lots of people willing to sue them for damages.

    I used to see the CO2/ global warming consequences issue as parallel to the CFCs/ ozone hole consequences. The Montreal Protocol was eventually negotiated and signed once the industry saw the writing on the wall. But they are essentially different. The CFC industry's underlying assets were in the patents on the production of CFCs. Those patents were running out and their value was automatically declining to an inevitable nil. The companies were simply trying to get the maximum use of those assets before "agreeing" to change their products, which they were already working on anyway to have new patents/ assets ready to replace the expiring ones. Fossil companies are really the gorilla sized version of the asbestos industry, not like CFC producers at all.
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    one minor observation: The earth with its masses of polar ice make it resistent to global warming for the same reason a glass of lemonade with ice remains cold on a hot July day. The ice is a termal buffer. Global temperature can't rise much until all the ice is gone. Once it is, watch out! The next major thermal buffer is the vaporization energy of water.
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    Global temperature can't rise much until all the ice is gone.
    I believe you're talking about a classic "tipping point" here.

    One really brilliant analogy came up in a discussion about Arctic sea ice a good while ago. There was one bloke saying that all these numbers about extent and area and volume of total Arctic sea ice were irrelevant. All that mattered was the central Arctic Ocean. And of course, that's where there was the least change in the period under discussion. (Therefore, surprise, surprise, we had nothing to worry about. He'd disappeared off the scene by last year's melt season so he didn't participate in reviewing the huge great holes in the ice near the North Pole.)

    Another commenter pointed out that areas like the Greenland and Barents Seas could be seen very much as heroes who throw themselves onto grenades to protect their buddies. They just have to do it every year - though there's very little ice in those two areas this year. For as long as there is ice to be melted in the outer Arctic - Barents, Kara, Chukchi, Bering, Okhotsk Seas for examples - the more central, more concentrated ice areas in the Arctic Ocean itself along with the Canadian and Greenland coasts and the Beaufort are protected for just a little bit longer.

    My own feeling about sea ice, glaciers and icesheets generally is that they're the reason we didn't see much in the way of warming 40 to 100 years ago even though the CO2 was being pumped out at a huge rate. Not as much as now, but 1 million years worth of fossil CO2 per year is pretty massive, it just looks small compared to the current 3 million years per year rate we now pump out. Photos of glaciers then and now show that we were already mowing them down like dandelions under the lawnmower, but the fact that they were melting meant that less warming was showing up in atmospheric temperatures. And of course, 40 to 100 years ago we had much shorter surface temperature records to compare anyway - and nothing like the still inadequate global coverage we now have.

    (By the way, anyone with an interest in Glacier National Park should take themselves and their kids there for a look pretty soon. There's very little ice left on the few remaining glaciers. Global glacier retreat )
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    So, the fossil fuel industry cares more about their company than the safety of the entire planet. Wow.
    I've only really come around to this way of looking at things fairly recently. Despite being one of those feared "left-wing" radical type people, I'd always taken for granted the economic ideas and the industry self descriptions of the profit-oriented entrepreneurs being willing to turn their hand to new challenges and to find profitable ways to do that. I just didn't trust them to do it fairly and responsibly.

    Which meant that I truly. did. not. understand. why fossil companies weren't leaping into the arena of getting their hands on the bulk of the newest available source of big bucks in a changing economy. All I could see were billions of $$$$s just waiting for someone to grab them (and to use the same options of political pressure, lobbying for special tendering privileges, permanent subsidies, all the way through to the brazen bribery that they've always been able to draw on for their fossil interests). Why weren't these eager beaver money makers using their market muscle to get ahead of everyone else in the race to the future?

    It's not about profits at all I've eventually worked out. It's about the value of the shares in the fossil mining and processing and power infrastructure. The value of the companies depends on the valuation of the mines, prospecting leases and licences and the equipment and the railways, roads, ports, drilling rigs, and other infrastructure. If no one wants coal, then it's not just the power stations that have to convert to gas or close down. If everyone prefers electric cars, it's not just the refineries that lose value, it's all those drilling rigs, ports and storage depots, tankers on roads and oceans. The value of the fossil reserves, the mining and drilling equipment, the railways and pipelines for getting the extracted fossils to ports or power stations - all of it - is revalued downwards or, for most of it, written off. Basically, the fossil companies see themselves becoming like the old asbestos industries. Stranded assets with no value to be found and with lots of people willing to sue them for damages.

    I used to see the CO2/ global warming consequences issue as parallel to the CFCs/ ozone hole consequences. The Montreal Protocol was eventually negotiated and signed once the industry saw the writing on the wall. But they are essentially different. The CFC industry's underlying assets were in the patents on the production of CFCs. Those patents were running out and their value was automatically declining to an inevitable nil. The companies were simply trying to get the maximum use of those assets before "agreeing" to change their products, which they were already working on anyway to have new patents/ assets ready to replace the expiring ones. Fossil companies are really the gorilla sized version of the asbestos industry, not like CFC producers at all.
    I worked for Shell most of my life and must say I don't think this characterisation is fair.

    My experience is that companies like Shell initially did try to see renewables - and even nuclear! - as a future area for profit, but all the commercial experiments they tried failed to get far. The painful lesson was that companies only succeed commercially when they bring something to the table. For example in Shell's case, there is still (as far as I am aware) an interest in offshore wind, as that requires deep water engineering, which they know a bit about. Also CO2 capture remains a very live interest, due to their drilling expertise, if a commercial regime can be established to make it viable (which requires help from governments, either via legislative compulsion or commercial incentives).

    Companies like Shell are in my experience very alert to the potential of new energy (electric or hydrogen cars or whatever) but they no longer fool themselves that they can make money by leading the innovation in these areas. That innovation will come instead from new game-changers in the marketplace. The Tesla electric car company may be one example. And then they will come in, where they have something to offer (perhaps using their existing retail networks for example).

    The thing is that, when all is said and done, energy companies, like any business, are commercial enterprises. As such their first duty is to their owners, the shareholders, who are largely ordinary people like you and I, via our pension schemes and savings. These companies are not charitable endowments and cannot be expected to behave as if they are.

    In my 30year career I can honestly say I have never heard anyone in the company oppose the theory of climate change, or discuss any strategy that would make it harder for the world to move beyond fossil fuel. We all knew the problem was real and that change would one day come. It has merely been a question of what profitable role is there for a traditional fossil fuel company in all of this.
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    My view on that would be that the sort of approach I'm talking about wouldn't be at the level of competent technical staff. It would be at board, and high level industry consultation/ cooperation , levels. Or Shell could be a bit of an outlier in the industry or is the UK branch possibly more reasonable than the US or Canada arms of the company.

    Though they did, eventually - after 13 years actively financing and participating - give up their anti climate change lobbying in the US. Big Oil and the Demise of Crude Climate Change Denial

    Fossil fuels won't be stranded: Shell | Business Spectator

    Shell, the Arctic, the Niger delta Shell admits climate policy threat to profits - 14 Mar 2014 - Analysis from BusinessGreen

    It has merely been a question of what profitablerole is there for a traditional fossil fuel company in all of this.
    Maybe among the people you work with, but I'd not be so generous with the various company representatives who insist that they can continue on their "traditional" path for another half a century. Let alone those who are mucking about with the ghastly tar sands debacle - Shell Abandons Alberta Tar Sands Emissions Cuts - See You In Court | DeSmogBlog - nor those who tried, and still try, to downplay their disastrous Niger mismanagement.
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  24. #23  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    My view on that would be that the sort of approach I'm talking about wouldn't be at the level of competent technical staff. It would be at board, and high level industry consultation/ cooperation , levels. Or Shell could be a bit of an outlier in the industry or is the UK branch possibly more reasonable than the US or Canada arms of the company.

    Though they did, eventually - after 13 years actively financing and participating - give up their anti climate change lobbying in the US. Big Oil and the Demise of Crude Climate Change Denial

    Fossil fuels won't be stranded: Shell | Business Spectator

    Shell, the Arctic, the Niger delta Shell admits climate policy threat to profits - 14 Mar 2014 - Analysis from BusinessGreen

    It has merely been a question of what profitablerole is there for a traditional fossil fuel company in all of this.
    Maybe among the people you work with, but I'd not be so generous with the various company representatives who insist that they can continue on their "traditional" path for another half a century. Let alone those who are mucking about with the ghastly tar sands debacle - Shell Abandons Alberta Tar Sands Emissions Cuts - See You In Court | DeSmogBlog - nor those who tried, and still try, to downplay their disastrous Niger mismanagement.
    Adelady, it certainly IS true that until, I think the end of the 80s, "Shell Oil" in the USA was in fact not wholly owned or controlled by the Shell group and as such it undoubtedly did pursue a number of policies not endorsed by London or The Hague, and which I would not have known about. Perhaps this is the explanation for your first article. I am certain it does not represent the view of the group. I was in the London Head Office throughout the 90s and all of this was much discussed, esp. the way the US majors seemed stuck in denial while the European companies (us and BP at that time - now we'd have to think also about Total/Fina/Elf) had grasped it.

    Regarding your second link, that all seems unremarkable to me. Obviously if the company thought it would end up with stranded reserves, it would not develop them. Choosing to do so does not mean the company is working to sabotage the development of non-fossil energy, as you seemed to be implying: it just reflects the view that transport applications in particular will take a very long time to find a suitable non-fossil fuel substitute and that, given the economic growth of Asia, especially China, it is reasonable to think profitable markets for fossil fuel will exist up to 2050. There is nothing sinister about that observation.

    I can't access your 3rd link so cannot comment on it.

    On the last link, about tar sands, I don't know much about them, though I do recall the process burns up a proportion of the hydrocarbon in the extraction, which may be what this is all about. However, again, none of this, so far as I can see, refutes what I am saying about the company's stance on climate change and non-fossil fuels.

    I can't stop you seeing oil companies as evil if you want to (though if you drive a car, or use AC or central heating, perhaps you might care to look in the mirror once in a while), but I do stick to my guns on the two points I have been arguing. Perhaps I should restate these, since there seem to be a number of other issues thrown up in the course of your response. They are that my experience of Shell is that (a) the company fully accepted the science of climate change once it had become an issue that we were all aware of and (b) did not do anything to hinder the development of non-fossil fuel alternatives.

    Since you make some remarks calling into question whether I would have known what the policy was, I should say I spent my career in Downstream Oil, and had a number of jobs across product technology, supply and manufacturing, both in the Head Offices, manufacturing plants and overseas. I had plenty of contact with the people developing company strategy and, while of course there are political matters discussed at very senior level that plebs like me don't hear about, it is simply not credible to think that a policy on climate change and non-fossil fuels would be managed in secret, and in direct opposition to what those managers were telling their own organisation.

    Do not, please, fall into the trap of thinking like George W Bush and trying to divide the world simplistically into goodies and baddies. The issue of climate change is a Gordian knot of the interplay between consumers, producers and governments. Trying to finger one of these actors as the baddy does a disservice to the topic.
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    I don't do that goodies and baddies thing as a general rule.

    But I do think that organisations are just as likely as individuals are to not know everything about what some members of their own "family" are doing and whether good old Uncle Bert (or the management of a remoter part of the organisation) might have an unpleasant side that the rest of us aren't aware of.

    I was part of a large organisation for a long time and I was often outright shocked at what passed for policy or acceptable behaviour in areas I was unfamiliar with - and not just the far away interstate branches, some of the units here that I'd not had much to do with. And when I was doing my union thing telling a senior manager about his problems in one of the areas he was responsible for (and they were mostly "he") I had to explain in tremendous detail what was going on - because he just didn't believe it.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    I don't do that goodies and baddies thing as a general rule.

    But I do think that organisations are just as likely as individuals are to not know everything about what some members of their own "family" are doing and whether good old Uncle Bert (or the management of a remoter part of the organisation) might have an unpleasant side that the rest of us aren't aware of.

    I was part of a large organisation for a long time and I was often outright shocked at what passed for policy or acceptable behaviour in areas I was unfamiliar with - and not just the far away interstate branches, some of the units here that I'd not had much to do with. And when I was doing my union thing telling a senior manager about his problems in one of the areas he was responsible for (and they were mostly "he") I had to explain in tremendous detail what was going on - because he just didn't believe it.
    Well your mind is clearly made up so I won't press the issue, especially as I've been retired for some years now. But I can't help suspecting you may see the corporate world through a rather Australian lens. I'm aware there's a good of hostility towards the idea of climate change there, due to all the extraction industries - in spite of the effects of what may well be climate change being more painfully visible there than almost anywhere else on Earth.
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    You might be right about my Australian buttons being pushed. It's bad enough that the Great Barrier Reef is in serious danger. Dredging and dumping the waste right there in its waters in order to transport coal to China is not insult added to injury - it's additional injury.
    "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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  28. #27  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    My view on that would be that the sort of approach I'm talking about wouldn't be at the level of competent technical staff. It would be at board, and high level industry consultation/ cooperation , levels. Or Shell could be a bit of an outlier in the industry or is the UK branch possibly more reasonable than the US or Canada arms of the company.

    Though they did, eventually - after 13 years actively financing and participating - give up their anti climate change lobbying in the US. Big Oil and the Demise of Crude Climate Change Denial

    Fossil fuels won't be stranded: Shell | Business Spectator

    Shell, the Arctic, the Niger delta Shell admits climate policy threat to profits - 14 Mar 2014 - Analysis from BusinessGreen

    It has merely been a question of what profitablerole is there for a traditional fossil fuel company in all of this.
    Maybe among the people you work with, but I'd not be so generous with the various company representatives who insist that they can continue on their "traditional" path for another half a century. Let alone those who are mucking about with the ghastly tar sands debacle - Shell Abandons Alberta Tar Sands Emissions Cuts - See You In Court | DeSmogBlog - nor those who tried, and still try, to downplay their disastrous Niger mismanagement.
    Adelady, it certainly IS true that until, I think the end of the 80s, "Shell Oil" in the USA was in fact not wholly owned or controlled by the Shell group and as such it undoubtedly did pursue a number of policies not endorsed by London or The Hague, and which I would not have known about. Perhaps this is the explanation for your first article. I am certain it does not represent the view of the group. I was in the London Head Office throughout the 90s and all of this was much discussed, esp. the way the US majors seemed stuck in denial while the European companies (us and BP at that time - now we'd have to think also about Total/Fina/Elf) had grasped it.

    Regarding your second link, that all seems unremarkable to me. Obviously if the company thought it would end up with stranded reserves, it would not develop them. Choosing to do so does not mean the company is working to sabotage the development of non-fossil energy, as you seemed to be implying: it just reflects the view that transport applications in particular will take a very long time to find a suitable non-fossil fuel substitute and that, given the economic growth of Asia, especially China, it is reasonable to think profitable markets for fossil fuel will exist up to 2050. There is nothing sinister about that observation.

    I can't access your 3rd link so cannot comment on it.

    On the last link, about tar sands, I don't know much about them, though I do recall the process burns up a proportion of the hydrocarbon in the extraction, which may be what this is all about. However, again, none of this, so far as I can see, refutes what I am saying about the company's stance on climate change and non-fossil fuels..
    You should learn more about the tar sands since Shell is one of the lead developers to this most destructive sources of fossil fuels. It would also be easier to accept Shell as being less involved in the anti science/climate agenda in the US if they weren't part of one of the American Petroleum Institute the largest lobby group trying to change environmental reports, obstruct EPA regulation and standards of CO2 emissions, and manipulating politics in the path of the Key Stone pipeline to develop the oil sands ever further. John Hofmeister, Shell CEO until recently, also gained notoriety in the US for pushing for more drilling even in protected areas in the US under the snake oil sales pitch of energy independence--(A ridiculous objective with any global commodity); Even now he continues to mischaracterize the threat, doesn't' acknowledge his own role in the lack of response, and shamefully calls for more delays and government research backing of one of the richest industries, and resist suggestions that carbon output be used to disincentivise further development of the worst CO2 emitters. http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politic...racy-11546076; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJStJQELd0c
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  29. #28  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    My view on that would be that the sort of approach I'm talking about wouldn't be at the level of competent technical staff. It would be at board, and high level industry consultation/ cooperation , levels. Or Shell could be a bit of an outlier in the industry or is the UK branch possibly more reasonable than the US or Canada arms of the company.

    Though they did, eventually - after 13 years actively financing and participating - give up their anti climate change lobbying in the US. Big Oil and the Demise of Crude Climate Change Denial

    Fossil fuels won't be stranded: Shell | Business Spectator

    Shell, the Arctic, the Niger delta Shell admits climate policy threat to profits - 14 Mar 2014 - Analysis from BusinessGreen

    It has merely been a question of what profitablerole is there for a traditional fossil fuel company in all of this.
    Maybe among the people you work with, but I'd not be so generous with the various company representatives who insist that they can continue on their "traditional" path for another half a century. Let alone those who are mucking about with the ghastly tar sands debacle - Shell Abandons Alberta Tar Sands Emissions Cuts - See You In Court | DeSmogBlog - nor those who tried, and still try, to downplay their disastrous Niger mismanagement.
    Adelady, it certainly IS true that until, I think the end of the 80s, "Shell Oil" in the USA was in fact not wholly owned or controlled by the Shell group and as such it undoubtedly did pursue a number of policies not endorsed by London or The Hague, and which I would not have known about. Perhaps this is the explanation for your first article. I am certain it does not represent the view of the group. I was in the London Head Office throughout the 90s and all of this was much discussed, esp. the way the US majors seemed stuck in denial while the European companies (us and BP at that time - now we'd have to think also about Total/Fina/Elf) had grasped it.

    Regarding your second link, that all seems unremarkable to me. Obviously if the company thought it would end up with stranded reserves, it would not develop them. Choosing to do so does not mean the company is working to sabotage the development of non-fossil energy, as you seemed to be implying: it just reflects the view that transport applications in particular will take a very long time to find a suitable non-fossil fuel substitute and that, given the economic growth of Asia, especially China, it is reasonable to think profitable markets for fossil fuel will exist up to 2050. There is nothing sinister about that observation.

    I can't access your 3rd link so cannot comment on it.

    On the last link, about tar sands, I don't know much about them, though I do recall the process burns up a proportion of the hydrocarbon in the extraction, which may be what this is all about. However, again, none of this, so far as I can see, refutes what I am saying about the company's stance on climate change and non-fossil fuels..
    You should learn more about the tar sands since Shell is one of the lead developers to this most destructive sources of fossil fuels. It would also be easier to accept Shell as being less involved in the anti science/climate agenda in the US if they weren't part of one of the American Petroleum Institute the largest lobby group trying to change environmental reports, obstruct EPA regulation and standards of CO2 emissions, and manipulating politics in the path of the Key Stone pipeline to develop the oil sands ever further. John Hofmeister, Shell CEO until recently, also gained notoriety in the US for pushing for more drilling even in protected areas in the US under the snake oil sales pitch of energy independence--(A ridiculous objective with any global commodity); Even now he continues to mischaracterize the threat, doesn't' acknowledge his own role in the lack of response, and shamefully calls for more delays and government research backing of one of the richest industries, and resist suggestions that carbon output be used to disincentivise further development of the worst CO2 emitters. http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politic...racy-11546076; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJStJQELd0c
    Yes, you are right, I don't know much about the tar sands process and I clearly need to find out more. But the API does nowadays acknowledge climate change, at least according to their website, though I guess it may have been a struggle to persuade some US oilcos to sign up to this and I suspect the API's stance is a bit of a compromise. Are you sure you are not thinking of the Global Climate Coalition, a group that Shell famously left, once it was clear that climate change was probably real?

    But Shell's recognition of clmate change is fairly unambiguous: Climate change - Shell Global
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  30. #29  
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    Quote Originally Posted by SowZ37 View Post
    From the research I've done, it seems that while excess amounts of CO2 aren't good, the percentage we add to the atmosphere compared to natural fluctuations in CO2 doesn't even compare to other, more harmful chemicals/greenhouse gases we release. Why is CO2 considered so bad when there is already a lot of it and the atmosphere has built in methods of dealing with excess amounts?
    CO2 isn't "so bad." It's just one of the many greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. It comes in a distant second to water vapor (by far our strongest greenhouse gas) and is not close to as potent as methane on a pound per pound basis. However, it takes centuries for the natural carbon cycle to filter it out, so once we emit it it's there for a long time.

    The reason people are concerned about it is that 1) it's causing the most warming of any new gas we've introduced into the environment (because we produce so very much of it) 2) it looks like our production will continue to increase, 3) there are positive feedback mechanisms that may magnify the effects of CO2 and 4) it will take hundreds of years to eliminate it, so we can't just keep emitting it until we hit some really serious side effect, then stop emitting it and expect its effects to disappear. We have to start now to mitigate problems we will have 50 or 100 years from now.

    Finally, it seems to me climate change is one symptom of the overall issue of over consumption.
    Perhaps true, but it's an issue that is already causing us problems and will continue to cause more. If your point is that we should be concentrating on reducing consumption of _everything_ (not just fossil fuels) then I agree. CO2 reduction is just one part of that.

    What are the worst long term effects of depleting ozone, in that case?
    Increased shortwave UV radiation, resulting in more skin cancer, cataracts, lung damage and food crop damage.
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  31. #30  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    But Shell's recognition of clmate change is fairly unambiguous: Climate change - Shell Global
    I think Shell and other oil companies are becoming very good at talking from both sides of their mouth, putting on a good PR front, while working through 2nd and 3rd party lobbyist and organizations to continue developing fossil fuels regardless of how damaging it is to local, regional and global environment. Shell, BP and Exxon are poster boys for this tactic.
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  32. #31  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    But Shell's recognition of clmate change is fairly unambiguous: Climate change - Shell Global
    I think Shell and other oil companies are becoming very good at talking from both sides of their mouth, putting on a good PR front, while working through 2nd and 3rd party lobbyist and organizations to continue developing fossil fuels regardless of how damaging it is to local, regional and global environment. Shell, BP and Exxon are poster boys for this tactic.
    But of course they develop fossil fuel reserves. That is their entire raison d'etre. And at the moment, you and I need the fuel they produce, to sustain our lifestyles (especially in N America, as it happens). Why would a company commit suicide while there is a demand for its products?

    There is nothing two-faced about doing this while recognising at the same time that climate change is an issue. Every time you turn the switch in your car's ignition you add to the world's CO2, while recognising climate change is a problem. We all do this.

    That's what I mean about the Gordian knot of consumers, producers and governments. Producers will only respond to commercial pressures. These can be from a variety of sources, including government regulation, tax treatment, brand image, and most powerfully of all consumer demand. One thing they will not do is act in a way that reduces their competitive advantage. So the key is government action to force changes on consumers and on producers, in a way that is the same for all players. This will put costs up for us all, so in effect it will tend to make us all poorer in some way. So it is right that governments, elected by the people who will be affected, do this with a popular mandate.

    The next question is education and leadership of course, so that people become willing to vote for something good that hurts them in the pocket. This is where our own government in the UK has proved something of a disappointment.
    Last edited by exchemist; May 21st, 2014 at 02:45 PM. Reason: typos
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  33. #32  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    But Shell's recognition of clmate change is fairly unambiguous: Climate change - Shell Global
    I think Shell and other oil companies are becoming very good at talking from both sides of their mouth, putting on a good PR front, while working through 2nd and 3rd party lobbyist and organizations to continue developing fossil fuels regardless of how damaging it is to local, regional and global environment. Shell, BP and Exxon are poster boys for this tactic.
    But of course they develop fossil fuel reserves. That is their entire raison d'etre. And at the moment, you and I need the fuel they produce, to sustain our lifestyles (especially in N America, as it happens). Why would a company commit suicide while there is a demand for its products?
    What we all don't do, but Shell and other companies are doing, is sponsoring organizations such as the API behind the scenes to thwart attempts by the EPA to regulate what's a well known pollutant; nor are most of us peddling snake oils in classrooms to continue unfettered support for their destructive industry. API sponsored: Classroom Energy

    They couldn't be more two faced in their approach, but they are getting quite good at putting lipstick on a pig.
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  34. #33  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    But Shell's recognition of clmate change is fairly unambiguous: Climate change - Shell Global
    I think Shell and other oil companies are becoming very good at talking from both sides of their mouth, putting on a good PR front, while working through 2nd and 3rd party lobbyist and organizations to continue developing fossil fuels regardless of how damaging it is to local, regional and global environment. Shell, BP and Exxon are poster boys for this tactic.
    But of course they develop fossil fuel reserves. That is their entire raison d'etre. And at the moment, you and I need the fuel they produce, to sustain our lifestyles (especially in N America, as it happens). Why would a company commit suicide while there is a demand for its products?
    What we all don't do, but Shell and other companies are doing, is sponsoring organizations such as the API behind the scenes to thwart attempts by the EPA to regulate what's a well known pollutant; nor are most of us peddling snake oils in classrooms to continue unfettered support for their destructive industry. API sponsored: Classroom Energy

    They couldn't be more two faced in their approach, but they are getting quite good at putting lipstick on a pig.
    All right Lynx. My point was a strictly limited one, about climate change (the subject of this thread). After this lapse of time I have no need or wish to embark on a wholesale defence of the environmental record of my ex-employer. So I'll let this one go though to the keeper, as the Australians say.
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    All right Lynx. My point was a strictly limited one, about climate change (the subject of this thread)

    Fair enough. But it's hard not to notice the extreme duplicity between the flashing ads that companies like Shell, BP and others direct at the public in their shallow attempts to make them eco friendly and their funding of trade organizations and other groups that are working tirelessly, well coordinated attacks on climate change legislation end education such as the underlying email by their CEO Mr.
    Gerard (see herehttp://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/GP%20API%20letter%20August%202009-1.pdf

    I'm sorry if you were part of this stuff, (I was as well as a direct stock holder of Exxon for far longer than I should have been because there was a boat load of money in it). The oil industry is also a climate denial industry. They aren't trying to bring practical solutions to the table they are sowing economic fear, casting doubt by misrepresenting the science of climate change, exploiting children under the guise of public education and in short doing absolutely doing everything they can to protect their energy production dominance our grand children be damned. It is unbridled capitalism and manipulation at its worst.
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  36. #35  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    All right Lynx. My point was a strictly limited one, about climate change (the subject of this thread)

    Fair enough. But it's hard not to notice the extreme duplicity between the flashing ads that companies like Shell, BP and others direct at the public in their shallow attempts to make them eco friendly and their funding of trade organizations and other groups that are working tirelessly, well coordinated attacks on climate change legislation end education such as the underlying email by their CEO Mr.
    Gerard (see herehttp://www.desmogblog.com/sites/beta.desmogblog.com/files/GP%20API%20letter%20August%202009-1.pdf

    I'm sorry if you were part of this stuff, (I was as well as a direct stock holder of Exxon for far longer than I should have been because there was a boat load of money in it). The oil industry is also a climate denial industry. They aren't trying to bring practical solutions to the table they are sowing economic fear, casting doubt by misrepresenting the science of climate change, exploiting children under the guise of public education and in short doing absolutely doing everything they can to protect their energy production dominance our grand children be damned. It is unbridled capitalism and manipulation at its worst.
    I realise I'm not going to convince you.

    As Lee Raymond (sometime CEO of Exxon) once famously remarked, "If ya wanna be lurved, don't woik in de oil business."

    (I give him an honorary Noo Joisey accent, in view of the origins of his company.)
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