What I don't understand about the global warming debate...
...is why it matters whether or not the globe is warming! If you don't believe in global warming, do you believe that pumping lots of black smoke into the air is a good thing? Isn't pollution still pollution and shouldn't we try and stop it?
> Isn't pollution still pollution and shouldn't we try and stop it?
God gave you control of the world to plunder and exploit until the rapture. Live a little.
It matters because of the "critical mass" issue. Past the tipping point, no turnarounds possible. That Global warming is bad for human life(style), is not under debate. All parties agree on that. Whether there is any global warming or not is the issue.
A specific lifestyle has been chosen by us. Others are choosing the same. Continuing with such a lifestyle do we or do we not reach that tipping point in the short to medium term future (roughly 75 to hundred years. 3 generation from now.) That is the debate.
I wanted to burn everything beautiful I'd never have. Burn the Amazon rain forests. Pump chlorofluorocarbons straight up to gobble the ozone. Open the dump valves on supertankers and uncap offshore oil wells. I wanted to kill all the fish I couldn't afford to eat, and smother the French beaches I'd never see.
March 5th, 2007 2:17pm
So everyone agrees that our lifestyle is bad. The question is whether or not it's sustainable? That seems much less morally important than the former.
Western countries are a heck of a lot cleaner than they were 30 years ago. So if the only question is ... have we cut down on pollution, most would say, 'yup, our work is done.'
That's the remarkable thing about the global warming thing -- it's okay if someone is responsible for tonnes of particulate and sulfur and mercury and other contaminates getting in the air....just so long as they bought enough CO2 credits.
Excessive consumption is bad...full stop. Whether you're running a coal plant, or are covering the countryside in solar panels (whose creation is a nasty environmental affair), killing birds and ruining nature by putting up wind farms, changing a habitat with coastal tidal generators, damming rivers, or creating several hundred-thousand years of nuclear waste.
Imagining that CO2 is the only villain is a recent invention, and it's a bizarre one.
Yes, the world IS warming, melting permafrost in the Arctic Circle proves that.
But you have a good point -- what difference does THAT effect make compared to burning up a fossil resource in a mere few hundred years that took millions of years to form?
And a fossil resource that's hugely useful in terms of making plastics, fertilizers, and pesticides. Why toss that out millions of exhaust pipes merely to commute to work and back?
The problem is, right now we price oil for how hard it is to get out of the ground -- which is not very hard right now. There's no mechanism in place to price it at its REPLACEMENT cost. So we pump it and process it and burn it and toss the results into the air. So it's comparatively CHEAP compared to ANY other form of energy on the face of the earth. Coal is cheaper, but also pollutes more. Natural gas could work, but is slightly more dangerious, and is STILL a fossil fuel.
You raise a good point.
"just so long as they bought enough CO2 credits."
Way to beat a dead horse, Dennis.
"killing birds and ruining nature by putting up wind farms"
Wind farms don't kill birds -- the blades move slow enough for birds to simply avoid them.
"Imagining that CO2 is the only villain is a recent invention, and it's a bizarre one."
Agreed. I really believe that would have nearly as much as we have now and be significantly better on the environment if we just tried.
>God gave you control of the world to plunder and exploit until the rapture. Live a little.
Are you framing this in the current meme of "it's those damn fundies that want to ruin the Earth"? I've heard this rapture-theme a few times (the old "Bush and crew are *trying* to ruin the Earth because it doesn't matter to them. God will save them!").
>Way to beat a dead horse, Dennis.
The entire CO2 debate -- from the personal level all the way up to Kyoto -- is based upon the concept of credits, so, uh, no. That's no more a dead horse than you brining up global warming.
I like warm. No one posted the ./ article from Saturday (I didn't even read it) that Mars is warming, too!
> it's those damn fundies that want to ruin the Earth"
We've all pretty much wanted to ruin the earth. It's the damn fundies that don't want to change.
If the value of the environment (or the souls of animals or globalization) is dx and that of my life is (dx)^2, I should kill myself. I'm infinitesimally inconsequential.
"The entire CO2 debate"
Sure, but why just have a CO2 debate. We pollute in a lot of ways other than just release CO2 into the atmosphere (and CO2 is at least "natural"). If credits reduce CO2 overall around the world and stabilize it (we don't want to eliminate all CO2) then so be it. Of course, we're still adding a lot of other crap into the atmosphere (and the water and the ground).
>We've all pretty much wanted to ruin the earth. It's the damn fundies that don't want to change.
Hey, I'm all for stereotyping an entire group of people and flinging feces and hate on them, but could you point out some evidence that rapture-awaiting fundies are disproportionately responsible for pollution/consumption?
> but could you point out some evidence that rapture-awaiting fundies are disproportionately responsible for pollution/consumption?
Hey, go back and reread what I said. I never said they were. But they are responsible for not wanting to mend their ways. They are the major drag on even the simplest steps forward.
"""...is why it matters whether or not the globe is warming! If you don't believe in global warming, do you believe that pumping lots of black smoke into the air is a good thing? Isn't pollution still pollution and shouldn't we try and stop it?"""
Well, pollution is worth stopping, but that won't convince anyone but sprout eating hippies. What will convince capitalist business tycoons is economics.
Fortunately, the economic argument is even easier to make.
Whether or not global warming is a man-made event, taking steps to solve the man-made "problem" is a WIN-WIN scenario.
In other words, if global warming is NOT man-made, and the temperature does return to "normal" some day, we've still come out ahead if we reacted to it as if it were an imminent threat.
Improving technological efficiency, increasing economic output, developing renewable resources, these are enormous societal benefits that will introduce a huge amount of wealth into the system which translates to: new billionaires, more opportunities, more jobs, a higher standard of living.
It only requires the will to re-invest in our infrastructure, which nearly everyone can agree with except those who are in a dominant market position and don't want to risk rolling the dice.
It's the same reason the RIAA and MPAA are trying as hard as they can to slow the move to a totally digital-internet based content distribution model. They're afraid that if the dynamics of the game changes, they'll lose their market position. If the game is going to change, they want it to happen on their terms. Entrenched cartels like this are what prevent our broader civilization from enjoying the, uh, "treasures" of technological progress.
>>> Yes, the world IS warming, melting permafrost in the Arctic Circle proves that.
Yeah, but no-one really knows why. There were farms in Greenland in the distant past, too, and that was due to human industrialization.
It really should be: we're wasting resources and poisoning the planet.
March 5th, 2007 2:35pm
> Yeah, but no-one really knows why.
My argument is we are making it worse and we can do something about it even if we aren't 100% of the cause. The societal balance that has evolved in concert with land and climage over 1000s of years will be tipped. The result will war, starvation, drought, and more bad stuff. Seems worth preventing.
Short of wiping out 95%+ of the human race (and their livestock), and putting the survivors back into a pre-industrial life style, we are not going to conquer global warming and pollution by cutting back on the amount of oil, gas and coal that we burn.
The whole effect of Kyoto, if it had been fully implemented (which doesn't look like it is going to happen anyway), will be to make the year 2100's CO2 levels, less by, wait for it... 6 years. With Kyoto fully implemented: 2100 CO2 will only (!) be as it would have been 2094.
It's like trying to empty a lake using a tea spoon. We ain't going to make it this way.
It's uncomfortable to some people, but the sooner you recognize, the sooner you can start to think about realistic solutions. In the short-term, massive use of nuclear power, artificial means of removing CO2 from the atmosphere (there have been quite a few studies in this area but they all involve massive farming-type or civil engineering projects), and perhaps artificial means of reducing solar heating (increasing earth's albedo).
"That Global warming is bad for human life(style), is not under debate. All parties agree on that."
Just like everything else, there will be winners and losers. Better Artic shipping lanes for the russians, milder winters for the new yorkers, soil can be more productive a few degrees up, some diseases are associated with cold winter, more golf days....
Here in Canada the "left" (those enlightened expresso sippers, always desperately looking for a way to feel more enlightened and advanced) had a field day upon finding that our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, had previously written a memo that dismissed Kyoto as a "socialist scheme". Yet anyone who knows more about Kyoto than some slogan screed to attach one's name to, knows that his assessment was absolutely correct.
>>> > Yeah, but no-one really knows why.
>>> My argument is we are making it worse and we can do something about it even if we aren't 100% of the cause.
Totally agree, I just like to bring up that minor nit-pick as my contribution to the debate...
Ok, it's not minor, it's the basis for the whole stupid Kyoto-carbon credit BS that I think is getting in the way of the real problem. I think that pouring stupendous amounts of cash into nuclear power would be a good thing, or into spaceflight so we can build solar power stations up there and beam power down here (those would also probably make excellent death rays!).
March 5th, 2007 3:14pm
+1 to Ward -- I was going to say something similar in response to DF's latest. Kyoto just clouds the issue and doesn't cut to the heart of anything.
I think you can't really blame US for not signing Kyoto.
LOL! The Bot's english is bad - fine, we all know that. But either his numeracy is bad too or he can't even cut and paste properly.
March 5th, 2007 4:04pm
> always desperately looking for a way to feel
> more enlightened and advanced
As apposed to the dual lettered who just gave up and don't like good coffee.
what exactly is bad about kyoto being a socialist scheme?
it may not be enough. it may not work. but damn, it is at least *something*. Some attempt to get all the major players going in the right direction.
you have to start somewhere. You have a better place to start Dennis? Let us know where it is, if so.
> Let us know where it is, if so.
Let's say DF proposes X. My response would be of the form:
Here in Canada the "left" (those enlightened expresso sippers, always desperately looking for a way to feel more enlightened and advanced) had a field day upon finding that our current Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, had previously written a memo that dismissed X as a "socialist scheme". Yet anyone who knows more about X than some slogan screed to attach one's name to, knows that his assessment was absolutely correct.
and where exactly would that get us, other than into some mindless game of tit for tat?
> mindless game of tit for tat?
I thought that was implied in your question to DF?
i can't remember. did the treaty in kyoto cause the earthquake, or vice versa? damn memory.
I'm asking him what he thinks the correct or best solution is, or where best to start looking for one. I'm genuinely interested in his response.
>As apposed to the dual lettered who just gave up and don't like good coffee.
Because I think Gore is a terrible hypocrite, and Kyoto is a sham, the only other *possible* conclusion is that I've given up? This is as logical as the assertion by Gore defenders that the only alternative to him living a horribly gluttonous lifestyle would be that he move into a small wooden shack in the middle of the wildness.
False dichotomies are just SO much fun!
In actuality I am more of a conservationist than many of the people who so loudly talk about the greatness of conservation (because talk is so easy...SAVE THE WHALES! CHINA OUT OF TIBET! FIX THE HOLE IN THE OZONE LAYER!). Yet just because I believe in the sanctity of the environment doesn't mean that I'm going to be force-fed any old bullshit that gets aligned with the whole sphere of environmentalism.
> Because I think Gore is a terrible hypocrite
He's getting better at it.
> Kyoto is a sham
Learn to crawl then walk then run. Kyoto is a new thing. That your knees get bloody is hardly surprising. Perhaps you have a plan to mobilize the world on new issues that are both in doubt and terribly costly?
> he only other *possible* conclusion is that I've given up?
Your derisive dismissive tone to everyone who is not you might give one that impression.
> False dichotomies are just SO much fun!
Especially when you see everything as false and dichotomous.
> I'm going to be force-fed any old bullshit
No, of course not. You are too smart for that. You are nobodies' fool.
It's basically an unsolvable problem.
China and India combined will destroy the Earth, even if USA suddenly disappears.
I'm not actually accusing you of *anything* Dennis.
I'm just asking you, what is the *better idea* that you subscribe to?
Hot air rises :)
... and Wayne's right. China has announced its plans:
Acts speak louder of course. I'll take more notice when China achieves those targets. They just may have the right sort of government to make such policy stick.
Elsewhere, vested interests dictate policy. Currently, the only contraint on consumption and its concomitant pollution product market prices as everybody competes to consume more than their next-door neighbour.
Conspicous consumption sucks and it's hard work. It was much simpler in the old days when religion instead dictated which old guys had first pick of the young wimmin.
Well Chinese definitely know about the tragedy of commons (within its border)
>why it matters whether or not the globe is warming!
It matters. We, the human race, are dumping more CO2 into the atmosphere than all other processes in the world. I recommend you take some time to read the book Collapse. In it, Mr Diamond covers the history of a number of other civilizations that collapsed due to ecological reasons. The global warming deniers partly are claiming that "it can't happen here" and at the same time are going "the rapture is coming, so we don't care what happens."
Combine the religious fruitcakes that are in the administration, along with their financiers - big business, and you get a combination of people who aren't willing to allow change of any kind. They're going to use words like "externality" which is a cheap word that basically means that the businesses want to make other people pay the costs of their actions. "My factory belches soot that dissolves the paint on your car? You can't prove it, even if you did, I'm not going to pay for your paint job, so you'll just have to live with it. After all, it is a free country and you can move if you don't like it."
The illogic of the Global Warming deniers goes like this:
1 - Global warming does not exist.
2 - Even if it does exist, it isn't caused by humans.
3 - Even if it does exist, and it is caused by humans, there is no evidence that it is bad.
4 - Even if global warming exists, and even if it is caused by humans, and even if it is bad, the cure for global warming is worse than the disease.
>If you don't believe in global warming, do you believe that pumping lots of black smoke into the air is a good thing?
No. However the Ayn Randites fall to their knees to worship every belching smokestack.
>Isn't pollution still pollution and shouldn't we try and stop it?
In the 50s up into the mid 70s when people were trying to stop, or even just reduce, pollution, the rebuttal from most of the business lobby was "dilution is the solution." That making a bigger smokestack to make the exhaust more dilute, or to dump it in the ocean where it wouldn't be visible to humans.
When the big nickel refinery in Sudbury was closed for repairs a couple years ago, worldwide airborne nickel levels dropped 10%. One refinery.
We've reduced a lot of pollutants that used to be dumped into the air that everyone breaths, and into the water that we end up drinking. The bush administration wants to repeal those regulations.
March 5th, 2007 7:38pm
>>> I recommend you take some time to read the book Collapse.
I'm still waiting for the last book you recommended (about corn) to come in to the library. It's been about 4 months, I think!
(what was it again?)
March 5th, 2007 7:43pm
> Well Chinese definitely know about the tragedy
> of commons (within its border)
You can drop "within its border."
> However the Ayn Randites fall to their knees to
> worship every belching smokestack.
Oh, is that why their knees are dirty. I thought it was for other reasons...
Good reply as usual.
And was the book Children of the Corn?
An alternate view on global warming:
>>You can drop "within its border."
Nope. The PRC does not really care what it does to the world. It only cares about its own survival, which will be at risk if the environment collapes given that over half of Chinese are farmers.
>Combine the religious fruitcakes that are in the administration
Psssst! I've got a secret for you: THEY AREN'T REALLY RELIGIOUS!
Take a deep breath and contemplate that for a moment. Let it sink in. I'll wait.
The administration panders to their voter base, which often includes the superficially "religious", through relatively benign things like evolution and commandments in courts. Yet if you truly, really believe that Bush, Cheney and crew are praying to the almighty nightly, awaiting the rapture, then you are absolutely deluded. (which is why I questioned the rapture earlier -- it's a strawman caricaturization that the "left" has created, with bible-thumping, god-fearing, rapture-awaiting, evolution-denying ignant fundies thwarting all of their Earth loving plans).
>The illogic of the Global Warming deniers goes like this
The illogic of the Continual Global Catastrophe crew goes something like this-
-HOLY SHIT WE'RE *DOOMED*
-HOLY SHIT WE'RE *DOOMED*
-HOLY SHIT WE'RE *DOOMED*
-HOLY SHIT WE'RE *DOOMED*
-HOLY SHIT WE'RE *DOOMED*
The global warming *deniers*, that crazy bunch, tends to be a group that requires, you know, scientific proof of something before they're ready to hitch onto it. Feel confident if you've long been a global warming Believer, but prior to relatively recently (still with a lot of debate and credible naysayers) you would have had to have been a Believer of the seeing ghosts/angels/9/11 conspiracy sort to be convinced.
Being "ahead of the curve" when there was no consensus or proof indicates that one is gullible, unless you were a direct researcher, just looking for the next worldwide downfall.
If one thinks the environment is too sacred, too sanctified, for trading then kill oneself. Why shouldn't one give up one's measly life for something so much greater?
The history of morality is that some things that weren't tradeable begin to get traded, and others that were stop doing it (slaves, pork futures, interest coupons, porn, etc). What is and what isn't tradeable defines the values, the sanctions of a society. The churn from one to the other is what keeps life interesting.
What particular events made it ok to switch to believing recently? Also when was recently?
"(still with a lot of debate and credible naysayers)"
Could you name some of the credible naysayers?
Budyko and Sellers had simple models of cataclysmic sensitivity to small changes in the climate as early as 1969. Budyko in particular was more concerned about cooling than warming at this time.
Research in the 1970s showed that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) contribute to ozone depletion. This line of study eventually culminated in political action with the Montreal Protocol in 1989 which aimed to phase out CFC use. Incidentally, the 1995 Nobel prize in Chemistry was awarded for this work. Global warming rather than cooling is the emphasis in this work.
This image shows the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1958. It in this curve that a young harvard student and future VP saw both a political opportunity and a potential profound and disruptive change for humanity.
Despite hostility from the reagan administration, the National Academy of Sciences published a report in 1983 that advised further study and concluded, "we find in the CO2 issue reason for concern, but not panic." The same year the EPA published "Can We Delay a Greenhouse Warming?" Which also concluded the earth would warm in the coming decades, causing problems for food production and changes in the habitability of many regions.
In 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published it's first report. Followed by 1992, 1995, and 2001.
When did it become OK to belive?
Belief is one thing, action is another. Action that is impeded by wrangling weaseling like this (from the Salon link, quoting Der Spiegel):
"The country's factories and power plants already emit more sulfur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) than Europe, even though the booming Chinese economy manages only a fraction of the per capita gross domestic product that the old industrialized nations do"
Analyse that assertion for any recognition that the problem is global, that most of China's vast poplace is still undeveloped and that the market for the products produced along with the pollution lies in the wealthy post-industrial nations and you'll come up wanting.
The problem is global. China may have the continuity in governance to help ameliorate their contribtion in time and on their terms but in the USA I see no sign that the population will be denied anything until Bush is well gone.
If it was so clear to a layman doommonger, then among the scientific community surely there must have been a clear consensus or at least majority agreement that it wasn't just cyclical variations, such that the Earth has always undergone (you know, the whole ice ages/farming in Greenland stuff), and that it was caused by man.
There was such a consensus, right?
There wasn't even close to a consensus. The closest to a consensus, among actual scientists in the field who have all of the information and the training and experience to interpret it, has occurred over the prior last half decade or so.
While science isn't normally a consensus-based exercise, when you're talking about global change, there should be some expectation that with enough information the brains will come to some agreements.
If we panicked and wholesaled changed society for every hypothesis, well it would be a really bad thing.
What event marked the consensus that mankind was causing an increase in global temperatrues that emerged in the last half decade or so?
Because the National Academy and the EPA called it in 1983, the Montreal Protocol called it in 1987, the IPCC called it in 1990.
I don't follow the farming in greenland thing. There is farming in greenland and the ice that has melted so far has been very good for it.
Are you sure that an emerging scientific consensus took place in the past 5 years or so? If so, what conference, publications, or datasets showed you that?
Since you obviously don't even have a cursory familarity with the scienctific timeline isn't it equally likey that your are perceiving a *political* consensus rather than a *scientific* consensus?
The US conservative movement which for decades that feared and fought environmentalism as anti-business woke up recently to the fact that Americans cared about the environment. The scientific consensus has been in place for over a decade. The republicans realized that the democrats were going to beat them over the head with this issue and so they've turned.
In 2001, Bush advisor Karen Hughes is quoted in time magazine as saying environmental issues "are killing us."
Popular Republican pollster and language speciallist Frank Luntz recently published guidelines for republicans to discuss the environment. In this document he warns that the environment is the single issue where republicans are most vulnerable.
The shift you noticed is not in the science, but in the politics. This makes sense as you follow mainstrem media and the people who make mainstream media are politicans not scientists.
To paraphrase a previous poster, this scientific consensus has been around for years, you're only just noticing it because some politican finally put it on the TV.
>Since you obviously don't even have a cursory familarity with the scienctific timeline
Says the guy who repeatedly references the Montreal Protocol, which sought to reduce the depletion of the ozone layer by CFCs -- having **nothing** to do with global warming, and everything to do with ground-level ultraviolet radiation.
In fact, it's especially funny that you repeatedly mention it, given that the result of the Montreal Protocol has been a greatly increased use of HCFCs, which hilariously are very potent causes of global warming.
But there it is -- the Montreal Protocol. Clearly you have a firm grasp on the science and the timeline.
>>"I don't follow the farming in greenland thing. There is farming in greenland and the ice that has melted so far has been very good for it."
Jared Diamond described the demise of a Viking colony in Greenland from about 1000 to about 1400 AD. The mini ice-age that froze the Thames solid stopped them cold :)
My beef is that despite strong consensus on pollution, democratic market economies lack mechanisms to limit pollution because the regulators will lose office. It's ALL windowdressing. What have we achieved? CFCs being phased out and limits on whaling is all.
Jared also metioned the quirky dictator Trujillo in Santo Domingo who could conserve by fiat. For instance illegal loggers were shot out of hand.
I'll conceed that the Montreal Protocal addresses ozone depletion and not global warming.
You haven't supported your claim that there was no consensus. You haven't addressed the National acaademy report of 1983, the EPA report of 1983, or the IPCC report.
Nor have you explained what caused you to say there was a recent consesus.
> The global warming *deniers*, that crazy bunch, tends
> to be a group that requires, you know, scientific proof
> of something before they're ready to hitch onto it.
Oddly they required no proof of WMDs in Iraq. They require no proof of God. And any minimally creative person can fend of scientific proof of most anything. For example, many people have argued you are a bot and I couldn't argue against that.
>Oddly they required no proof of WMDs in Iraq. They require no proof of God. And any minimally creative person can fend of scientific proof of most anything.
"They"? See, this is exactly what I meant about the enlightened "left" above- it's the coordination of beliefs, with people just embracing anything that seems to be a group cause, and then perversely claiming that their opponents are doing the same.
From 1997 - 2002 I worked in an engineering shop that worked largely in the environmental realm -- improving efficiency of heavy equipment, but moreso capturing CH4 (methane) coming off of landfills (as all of the organic matter decomposed) and burning it in generators to generate power. We provided all of the monitoring and control systems, and engineering expertise.
The advantage of burning this landfill gas was that CH4 is something like 54x more of a greenhouse gas than the CO2 that results when it is combusted, not to mention that the resulting power offsets other power generation (e.g. a coal generator doesn't have to be run as hard because some landfill added 10MW to the grid).
While the power generated didn't really pay off the cost of the facility buildout, the US government offered lucrative tax credits for reducing CH4 consumption conglomerates to keep more of the money from other parts of their enterprise.
Why do I mention all of that? Because I spent those years drowning in the debate about global warming. While it certainly doesn't make me an expert, or anything remotely close, I can say that I got to hear the evolving theories and perspectives about the source and risk of global warming.
>reducing CH4 consumption conglomerates
should be "reducing CH4 emissions encouraged conglomerates"...
It's a neat story. I've seen some carbon credit projects that work on landfill gas capture. Naturally, there seemed to be those who say the goal should be to reduce gas production. Of course, just saying "dennis knows a lot about global warming" doesn't really educate me.
Do you see the difference between a post that cites numerous published datasets , reports, books, quotes from established scientists, and mainstream press and a post that says "I know about this, I worked close to it. Trust me."?
If anyone reading this is to learn from your experience, you're going to have to present the facts and conclusions, not your expertise. Next time someone asks me about global warming I can't say: "Guy I met on the internet worked on a hardware part in an industrial company for 5 years. He says ....."
I've disclaimed my own limited qualifications on this matter. My point was that the mainstream media hasn't been my only source of information on this, and in fact I was involuntarily exposed to far more information on it than most.
And cherry picking supporting documents doesn't really prove that there was historically a consensus, now does it? I could find hundreds of scientists claiming that teflon was responsible for cancer in man under normal usage -- does that mean there is a consensus? Why hasn't teflon been banned, given this clear proof?