On the other hand, you could just carry an umbrella and let the stormy clouds chase everyone from the place. Come on with the rain I've a smile on my face. I walk down the lane with a happy refrain, just singin', singin', in the rain.
The human race does seem to have happened along at a particularly cool moment in earth history so in some ways, it might make more sense to sing in the rain, rather than try to piss in the wind.....
The graph is my point exactly Moor, the Earth will still be revolving in another 570 millions years, adjusting itself as needed as it always has, as for today it's just Green lobbies etc; who are the hysterical ones, they hate people being mobile, they'd have us all living in communes, not going anywhere, living a vegan existence off the land, that's not say I don't do my 'green' bit for society, (as many people do) when it comes to recycling, home insulation, waste, and travel.
The question is, will humanity survive? They're much more delicate
Part of the "adjustment" that the Earth makes might be to make life impossible for the species doing all the damage
Humanity will survive, after all we evolved from 'ape-man', in the same timescale as the human race continues to evolve future generations in millions of years time may be hairless and robotic in appearance, who knows.
I guess I've something in common with many americans according to this article..........
Mark O - If you read the Economist article, you will see that the author is not just explaining why so many Americans refuse to believe in something that every national scientific academy on the planet agrees with (including their own), but also how they can be pursuaded to change their minds.
To quote the article'.. As my colleague said yesterday, "The idea that sustainable-resource use and renewable energy is some kind of socialist hippy hobby is incredibly naive and frivolous, and extremely damaging to the American economy." I agree, and this is an area where M.S. could make common cause with conservatives. Even people who don't believe in climate change, even here in Darkest Texas, believe in renewable-energy companies. Nearly two-thirds, again according to Rasmussen, say that renewables are a better investment for America than fossil fuels.'.
In other words, its not the 'Green lobbies, vegans, etc', but people who understand there is a problem, and that there are ways to tackle it, which might even be economically valuable. The Stern report showed clearly that prevention will be much cheaper than cure.
Try reading something by Amory Lovins (based at the Rocky Mountain Institute), such as his latest, Reinventing Fire http://www.amazon.co.uk/Reinventing-...9799558&sr=8-1 . Its full of ways in which we can use less and get more for our money. I trained as an archaeologist (which is why I always laugh when the MWP comes up, because Greenland wasn't that green, even then), and I have no intention of living in a commune, becoming a vegan or going back to a medieval lifestyle (study - yes, live - no).
There certainly have been climatic changes in the past (and if you look at Richard Alley's talks on YouTube, he charmingly explains why), but nothing in the past has been as rapid as it is now. There is no other explaination for this other than AGW, and although the 'planet' might survive, the ecosystems on it (which we in turn rely on) will be profoundly changed. In 2004, the Pentagon prepared a report on possible threats to US national security steming from climate change. Fortunately, many of the possibilities remain just that, but they forsee widespread droughts, food shortages, flooding, regional instability, famine, wars over resources such as water and possible mass migration. These are not tofu eating hippies - this is the Pentagon (and at a time when Bush 2 was in the WH).
So far we have seen that average global temperatures have already risen approximately one degree Celsius since pre-industrial levels, and even if we could stop emitting all greenhouse gases tomorrow, they would continue to rise by at least a further 0.6 degrees. Globally, the hottest ten years on record have all been since 1990, and February 2010 was warmest on record for the southern hemisphere. The Artic has fared even worse. The likelihood is that we will see more dieback from forests (parts of the US are already seeing timber infestations from beatles that have survived warmer winters), even more retreating of glaciers (and their supply of fresh water) and the more dying-off of coral reefs (with a knock-on effect to fish catches), and falling crop yields and erosion of topsoil. The NASA website has a list of what is likely to happen, and it makes very sobering reading (and they've sugared it a bit).
That means higher costs of food, stunted economic growth through extra resources devoted to security and mitigation, fewer fish stocks (cod is moving to more northerly waters becuasse of warming seas), far fewer water resources (in Southern Spain in 2005, irrigation water was in so short supply because of a drought that some growers started using basically untreated sewage runoff to water export salad crops - hundreds became ill) and increased insurance claims (large reinsurers such as Munich Re are seeing increasingly expensive natural disasters, and this trend will continue as sea levels rise, if only due to the majority of the world major cities being coastal or subject to tidal flooding). And if Bangladesh disappears under the Indian Ocean due to sea rise and increasingly powerful storms (which is highly likely), what are the chances of a young radicalised Bangladeshi revenging the disappearence of his country and his family due to the West's thirst for fossil fuels with a bomb on a plane, next to a power transformer or a nuclear storage pool?
To paraphrase Trotsky (if he actually ever said it) - 'You might not be interested in climate change (or simply refuse to believe in it), but it is interested in you'.
Climate change does not mean that the human race will die out, but it does mean that life will potentially be a lot harder for future generations. If you want to see what can happen when societies fail to adapt to their changing environment or change it for the worse themselves , Jared Diamonds excellent 'Collapse' http://www.amazon.co.uk/Collapse-Soc...9802129&sr=8-2 is a good start. There is even a section on the Greenland Vikings!
Our climate has been particularly advantagous for humanity, and we have been very lucky. However, as a climate scientist wrote about twenty years ago,' we have been poking it (the atmosphere) with a sharp stick, and now its angry'. Steve has expressed it very well, we are 'delicate' as a species, and it will take relatively little to take us back to surviving, rather than living (it could be argued that some are in this situation already).
The chart showing climate changes in relation to geological periods should be viewed with the thought that antomically modern humans have only been around for the last 200,000 years, which is about the final 0.7mm on the chart. Dinosaurs were around for far longer, yet we now dig them up, look at them in museums and use what used to be their soft tissue to power our lives. Unfortunately, its that need to use oil and other fossil fuels which means we are changing our own climate. We can do better, or the future will be very uncomfortable.
If you do want to know more about the science of climate change (the basics are easy, but the more complex stuff is hard work), Skeptical Science should be your first stop (so much easier to point someone there and let them refute all the old chestnuts than trying to do it yourself again and again). Real Climate is run by real scientists, but if your going to argue, you need to know your stuff. Climate Progress is good on the politics and economics of energy, etc, and Deltoid/Stoat at Scienceblogs are always useful. Rabbett Run and http://tamino.wordpress.com/ are good, but they are science pro's, and assume a knowledge of the basics and beyond.
At last a voice of reason, logic, commonsense.
It seems to me that there are two arguments that should be separated a little. The figures undeniably prove there has been a warming trend. Much of the dispute seems to lie in the predictive doomsday scenario's that are then modelled by the global disaster merchants, who seem to rely on "computer models" that are designed to exactly mirror what they expect to happen anyway, but the fact the "computer" prints it out is meant to convince us it all must be true. In the area of prediction, computers are prone to produce whatever the programmer tells them to by the mnature of the parameters inserted. This was exemplified by the Met Office the other year with their ludicrous "Volcano Models" that paralysed much of Europe's air traffic for several days; the models siad there was dust, but nobody flying could actually find any of it.
Insofar as the warming trend is concerned, the fact that acceleration seems suddenly to have occurred since the Seventies seems related to the way we have eliminated visible pollution on the advice of the scientists; there seems good reason to believe that the greenhouse CO2 effects were offset by the dimming of particulate pollution. An example of how the more we interfere the more we create unintended consequences sometimes. I daresay this trend may also have accelerated with the death of the Soviet empire and consequent improvements in environmental air quality in a large chunk of the industrial world.
Speaking of the Soviets, it's also interesting how the global warming debate seems to be increasingly a political one where lefties believe in it like they once believed in communism and insist we must all "obey" their dire predictions, whilst the righties increasingly see that big government is the least best way to address whatever problem there might be.
Moor Larkin - interesting arguments, but I'm not sure you are basing your line of reasoning on what is real, or what the media portrays as real.
A true skeptic is one who says 'show me evidence ' when presented with a theory or idea. If there is enough evidence, then they accept it. Scientists are professional skeptics, and are the first to test each others data and theories. Thats why scientists publish academic articles in journals (all academics work in a similar way), which are peer reviewed, and then can be exaimed by other researchers. Actually, 'torn apart' is nearer the mark. Peer review can be harsh, and every scientist wil expect their data to be closely looked at.
Skeptical Science links to the original report, article or data. You can check out what they say, and where the evidence comes from, which is how it should be. Yes, they want to debunk AGW myths, but they do it openly, using peer-reviewed data. If you think peer-reviewed data is 'biased' against 'climate change is a load of old tosh' websites, then thats because scientific fact tends to be biased against the idea that 'climate change is tosh'.
Thanks to the web, you can not only follow links to evidence, but you can look at the original data, and run your own analysis. Real Climate http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/ has a good number of links to data and software, as does Tamino http://tamino.wordpress.com/climate-data-links/ and there are many others.
You don't seem to trust computer models, so you can run the data yourself in your own computer model, using various modelling codes, or at least check it out. Or you can help run models via Climate Prediction http://www.climateprediction.net/ . By running your own models, you can see if the Met Office or someone else is cheating, but I suspect you wont, at least in part because they run huge numbers of simulations, and are of course peer-reviewed. Models are also refined, by continually comparing actual data with the models. As you point out though, the actual warming trend is pretty clear over the last 30 plus years, so i even discounting the models, there is climate change, and the trend is plain.
The role of dimming in relation to particulates remains unclear, and may have made some conditions worse. There is a discussion on Real Climate about them http://www.realclimate.org/index.php...dels/#more-292. Even if it did help to reduce the rate of climate change in the 70's (and this is an era in which the first signals were being picked from observation that there might be a change, so the evidence is unclear), its difficult to argue that reducing smog, etc was a bad thing (my 5 year old son is asthmatic, as am I, so I have no desire to return to large-scale atmospheric pollution).
I would ignore the left/right analysis in relation to climate change, since it is very localised, and untypical of most of the world. The vast majority of 'lefties' (which is a pretty crude term) had nothing to do with the Soviet Union or Communism, nor do they now follow 'climate change' as some sort of creed. Its not politics, its physics. In fact, its really largely only in the US, Australia and increasingly in the UK that such a idelogical divide strongly exists over what is actually well established science. Th rest of the world largely just says 'yes, we get it', whether it be left or right.
In the UK, we must be grateful to Mrs Thatcher (not a phrase I write often) for the cross-party acceptence of climate change. As a trained scientist, she recognised the strong evidence of AGW, and respected the scientific advice she was given (much the same could be said with regard to CFC's). There were alwys one or two Tories who might have disagrede publicily, and more in private, but being anti-AGW has never been a right-wing badge of honour in the UK, unlike the US. The Tory press has always been AGW (the Murdoch press changed its mind some years agao, after James Murdoch intervened), but in political circles, disbelief has been a fringe activity, although Osborne is not untypical in saying that the environment is not important. For him to say AGW doesn't exist would, however, make him a laughing-stock (see Nigel Lawson). Of course doing something about climate change is another matter.
In the US, although a Presidential report was written by the mid-1970's on the possibility of climate change, it really only came important during the Reagan years. Since Reagan famously thought that fallen leaves was 'pollution', his Vice President was a former oil man, he had strong links with extractive industries, he believed in small government, and his 'base' included many who were part of the 'Wise Use' movement/End times', etc, any acceptance was going to be unlikely.
For the GOP, climate change has increasingly been a no-go area. Mitt Romney and Newt Gringrich did support action on climate change once, but recanted when faced with the GOP base - apparently pleasing Fox News is more important than science. Republicans who do believe in climate change simply keep quiet, or have dropped out of sight. Many large US corporations (who want a stable and meaningful policy on climate change so that they can invest in the 'green economy') pleaded with the Bush White House for a lead, but none came. The Heartland Institute's recent problems (the release of various sensitive documents and an incrediably ill-judged billboard campaign) have highlighted the problem - the GOP looks nuts. The large amount of cash from anti-AGW sources and special interests, and the way much of the media has reported the subject has been the biggest problem, but such denial is not as strong as it was.
The Democrats have not always been 'green', but compared with the GOP, tend to look pretty good. Al Gore has been a hate figure for many anti-AGW types, but in reality, he did not make the subject political, the GOP did. Obama has not always shone on the environment, but getting a Prof of Physics (and a Nobel prizewinner as well)to be your Sec. of Energy, certainly makes him look like the grownup in the room.
Australia seems to have a similar divide to the US, which is ironic, since this is the country probably most vunerable to climate change. Droughts, flooding, giant dust-storms have all been part of the Australian experience for the last decade. However, like the US, it has a large coal industry (minerals and extractive industry generally are a large part of the economy). This means that there is a fairly large lobby which opposes any movement on climate change, and one with the funds to push back.
If you argue that such a divide might be between large industries who have a stake in the continuing use of fossil fuels, free-market believers, etc, and those who feel that action is needed to curb the use such fuels, then yes, there is a divide. But there are many 'conservatives' who believe in conservation and the use of the free-market (within limits) to make that happen quickly. The polarisation has come from the right, and its been self selecting (think of the US debate over abortion
The idea of 'big government' is a myth - government should be the right size to deal with our increasingly complex world. It is also a myth that the free market does everything better by itself. Everything from navigation, sanitation, railways, the use of oil, jets, nuclear power, aviation, communications, computers, genetic engineering, to the internet and LCD's are all the result of government intervention, subsidy, support and guidence. Some things are so big that only government can do it, or at least shape what can happen. Climate change will have a huge impact on us all, and it will take all the power of government (as well as many other resources) to help escape the worst of its effects.
The page on Sceptical Science about the fact that some kind of stasis appears to have arisen around 1998 in the rate of warming is perhaps indicative of it's own stance. The comments below it are indicative of it's at least allowing the naysayers to have their neigh.... within a forum that allows the voice of the other to be heard.
It just seemed to me an interesting parallel that as "smoke and dust" was removed from the industrialised air, there was then a couple of decades of warming as those changes stabilised, and that perhaps 1998 was some kind of stasis point reached. That's just a theory of course..
I think it's a mistake to dismiss *politics* because what to do about "Global warming" has become a politico-economic issue. Your evident bias against the right, which "self-selects" the political issues is revealing of how polically divisive, on these grounds, it it has become. The notion that the right somehow is on the side of destroying the planet in the name of profit is a very popular one abroad, in many senses of the word.
It's interesting that you say ! am basing your line of reasoning on what is real, or what the media portrays as real. This seems to presuppose the media is inevitably wrong and only the "scientists" can understand the true picture. The self-selecting elitism that is a common trope of the left is the one that says only the *experts* can tell us what is good for us.... whether they are economic experts like Marx or simply demi-Gods like Mao. The media in fact just reports what seems most news-worthy (or sensational) at the time. So in the 70's they werre happy to report Global Cooling and now they are happy to report Global Warming. They are also most happy to report Extreme Weather, and then advise how this is either connected to global warming or volcanoes or whatever. Scientists do complain that the media mis-report, and this seems to have been the case when the media reported on the 1998 observations.
The other political aspect you mention where nobody dares to speak against the global warming consensus is an interesting one and led our own David Cameron to undertake Penguin Visits whilst in opposition in order to to try to help make himself electable, as well as the current UK Coalition liking to label itself as "the greenest ever" ( I don't think they meant in experience.. ) There was a huge media favourite in the UK called David Bellamy, who became a thorn in the side of the Warmers and seems never to have worked in TV again, so I'm sure others in the business have taken note. One of Bellamy's belly-aches is not so much about the reality of global warming but rather the responses to it. He has a bee in his bonnet about wind farms which in the UK have sprung up like daffodils in March. There are many levels to that debate but, like solar power, wind farms became subject to huge government subsidy over here. It's too late now but the fossil fuel debit for creating them seems likely to outbid the fossil fuel savings these things might make for some years yet, and there seems a distinct likelihood that they may not even be capable of operating for more than a couple of decades anyway - especially as many of ours are sited in the sea. Governments are just not very good at solutions, but in this age of big government they dominate the debate on the grounds of "principle" rather than economics and would quite happily spend £1 in the wrong way to save a penny in the "right way", and there are always enough individuals who are only too happy to take the money and build the governement-inspired grandiose schemes. The worthwhile ones such as the Three Gorges Dam are also the same ones that are vilified by the same environmental lobby as protests about Global warming, and it is this refusal to accept change that creates the primitivist tendency on the left, where all technology ends up being a bad thing. You'll see it in the Home Counties of the UK too of course, when their protests about wind farms are not so much about the fact that they are not very good at generating electric, but rather because they "spoil the view". Primitivism extends to all walks of society.
The historical figures for the temperature of the earth are also highly suspect to my mind. Inevitably the ones predating the last forty years or so must have been biased to the Noerthern Industrial nations. I don't suppose there was much temperature data being reliably collected in Somalia in 1930. It seems to me that the warming trends of the last thirty years or so could just as easily be ascribed to more accurate globally-based temperature collection. The amount of ice at the Poles is perhaps a more useful indication of the temperature fluctuations, but again, we have been able to collect data for such a relatively short period that we don't really have any grasp about what is *typical*, but the Middle Ages warming and presumably less ice in the north as a result, seems to have some relationship to how the Vikings managed to get across to Greenland/America but then later could no longer survive there.... so we know polar ice-caps vary.
The natural patterns of Earth Change also would have to be factored into the data. Man's activities might just be contribution to a trend anyway. So far as I can see the Global warming Graphs seem to span 1 degree..... How much is the earth anyway, in one of it's cycles, creating this warming? Half a degree? Or are we so self-important that we think WE are more powerful than the planet?
At the end of all of this debate, the only purpose in Life is to survive. Mankind has found a way, utilising fossil fuels to not only survive, but prosper and make that life quite pleasant for those that have the access. To expect the Second and Third Worlds not to want to learn from the experience of the First World is just a woolly Green dream, except insofar as maye they can learn to do more with less, and avoid the sometimes wasteful gas-guzzling of the past. Waste not, want not is a universal truth and will do more for assuaging the fears of those who *fear* global warming, than all the grandiose government projects will ever achieve, except maybe hydro-electric ones.... which are very much out of fashion nowadays.
As an aside I am not contending that the Met Office or anyone else "fiddles" their computer simulations, I am simply making the point that if the computer program is weighted according to their human expectations, the program will inevitably come up with the result they expect, and if it didn't, I daresay they would say they had programmed it wrongly....
Last edited by Moor Larkin; 17-06-12 at 11:43 AM.
the pro global warming lot are right
but we are very lucky though that the whole problem will go away if we pay more tax
thank god for our wonderful politicians
they can control the weather !
i can only assume that their must have been an abundance of green taxes collected this year as i'm STILL WEARING MY WINTER COAT FULLY BUTTONED UP IN THE MIDDLE OF FLAMIN JUNE !
Moor Larkin - you could certainly try out researching your theory about the lack of smoke and dust causing a 'stasis' in warming, although its worth pointing out that on the 'intermediate' tab of the page you linked to, it features papers by Fawcett & Jones which stripped the effects of El Niño (which was almost certainly the major factor), and one by Jones & Rahmstorf which also stripped out solar and volcanic interference. The end result was 'When removing these short-term effects, the warming trend has barely even slowed since 1998 (0.163°C per decade from 1979 through 2010, vs. 0.155°C per decade from 1998 through 2010, and 0.187°C per decade for 2000 through 2010).'
We should try to remove the politics from the science. It is beyond doubt that climate exists and that we are responsible. What we do about it is a perfectly fair debate, but the problem has been that many on the right have decided not only to not debate the consequences of climate change, but its very existence. Its difficult to get to the second debate when they wont even allow the first.
There is a huge amount of sunk capital in the extraction, distribution and use of fossil fuels, and we all use the vast amount of infrastructure that has built up around its use. Its hardly surprising that these industries would fight so hard to avoid action, and lobby as hard as possible to stall any change. Those who believe in the primacy of the free-market may also feel that curbs on emissions are an attack on that philosophy, and therefore ally themselves with those industries, but there no excuse for denying reality. You are entitled to your opinions, but not your own data.
Its actually pretty clear that there are a fair number of people associated with many industries who are perfectly willing to 'destroy the planet' for profit. We could start with those who are logging out the rainforests of the Amazon and SE Asia (and replace them with palm oil plantations), large scale extraction of minerals, coal (and its burning), the massive over-fishing of our oceans, tar-sands, industrial pollution etc. Are these of the right? Actually, if you look at politicians worldwide, they have all been fairly lamentable over protection of the planet, being very plient in the face of lobbying from special interests, while proclaiming how green they are. They have all failed to act strongly enough, but some are worse than others.The notion that the right somehow is on the side of destroying the planet in the name of profit is a very popular one abroad
The media is often wrong about many things, and when it comes to reporting science, even worse than usual. If you believe the media, you'd continue to think that there is a 'debate' over climate change. A quick look at the scientific journals show the opposite. The scientific debate is long over, yet the media continues to report the opposite, because a 'man bites dog' story is far more interesting. In the same way, something that barely mentioned in scientific circles can 'escape' into the mainstream media, and gain a life of its own (think of the MMR story).
The 1970's 'Global Cooling' story is one of those old myths which always gets trotted out, yet its was basically a media creation from the start, and is a a classic example of the media drumming up a non-existant story. Skeptical Science has the full story http://www.skepticalscience.com/ice-...s-in-1970s.htm and Real Climate also has a good article on it http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=94, but it basically comes down to the fact that only seven scientific papers suggesting cooling (forty two during the same period suggested warming). Despite this relative lack of scientific support, the media went mad for it. Of course the media get it both ways, because they can now talk about 'scientists' getting it wrong, when they reported it badly in the first place.
A couple of years ago, Nigel Calder (now very anti-AGW) mentioned this on TV as evidence that scientists know nothing. What he did not mention was the programme on Global Cooling he made for TV back in the 1970's! As for extreme weather, you'll notice that it is journalists who tend to make this link. When scientists are asked, they use words like maybe, possibly, and 'its difficult to say from one event'. They are careful, the media is not. I'm always intrigued about the Daily Express. It has some obsessions, including extreme weather (icy hell over Britain!! type headlines). Yet refuses to believe in climate change. I recommend Nick Davis's 'Flat Earth News' for how to spot what the news really mean, and the excellent 'Churnalism' websites shows you who actually wrote a lot of the articles in you newspaper.
David Bellamy's status as a 'climate martyr' is another myth, debunked by George Monbiot http://www.monbiot.com/2005/05/10/junk-science/ and other articles. In reality, his TV career had waned well before he started about on about climate change. What is sad (and there is a pitiful bit on Youtube where he is arguing with Monbiot on TV, and evidently does not have a leg to stand on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eOFY...feature=relmfu), is that he relied on data about glaciers which were basically pulled from thin air.
He is a professor, and should know that you should always check your references, especially if they are different from the norm. He could have checked them easily (if he had rung up any glaciologist in the country, they would have bent over backwards to help him), but could not or would not. Any academic would be embarrassed by such a mess, but instead he's doubled down, making even more daft pronouncements . He is entitled to say he doesn't like wind turbines, but again, you are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own data.
I don't know where you got your figures from for the carbon imput/output ratio for wind turbines from, but a quick check found that Vestas reckon that their off-shore turbines have a CO2 payback of around 9 months http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environ..._of_wind_power (thats a 2008 figure). Since the life cycle of one is expected to be 20-30 years, that seems fairly efficent. A report from 2005 http://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/postpn268.pdf shows that wind has about 1% of gas generation's Co2 footprint, and coal is twice that of gas. Nor do they cause extra emissions because of their intermittency http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...rbon-emissions.
I wish governments were better at solutions, but what I see is (short-term and special interest) economics over principle every time. The biggest subsidies are not renewables like wind, but to fossil fuels. These are very mature profitable technologies, which have no need of any subsidy, but yet are subsidised each year to the tune of $775billion http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...QUlV_blog.html to perhaps $1 trillion each yearhttp://priceofoil.org/.
Thanks to lobbying the EU by the gas industry, gas is now apparently a 'low carbon' fuel, and will get 30 billion euros in subsidies for research. Does it need this money? Of course not, but thanks to deep pockets, expensive lobbying campaign and weak politicians/officials, we will be burning gas for the next thirty years, even though we cannot afford to, for so many reasons. If you want to look where your taxes are going, you could start by cutting out subsidies to industries which don't need it.
I actually like technology, and there are technologies that can really help (LED lights will save use both energy and money, smart grids, etc), but technology is not a magic bullet. Changes in lifestyle will be needed. That does not mean we will all live in caves, freezing to death (as I said before, I don't do discomfort unless I want to), but it does mean we have to recognise that we can't all live as though the earth was infinitely abundent, because it simply isn't.
The Three Gorges Dam has turned out to be a mixed blessing. It displaced 1.3m people, flooded a large number of archeological sites and has cause many ecological changes. There is also an increased chance of landslides and flooding It is also begining to silt up, something which was warned about before it was built. Its true that it has displaced a large amount of coal, which would otherwise have been burnt, has produced a large amount of power, and helped reduce the kind of terrible flooding that the Yellow River was famous for. Many dams are basically boondoggles, and are often very expensive, displace large numbers of people and seldom live up to the promises mad when built. They are also prone to silting.
If you don't believe the data/models, run them yourself. If you are unsure of the data, then use the BEST data http://berkeleyearth.org/. This was set up to find the 'truth' by people who wanted to independently check out the reality of climate change (using respected physicists, etc outside the climate change community), and was partially bankrolled by the likes of the Koch brothers, who are famous backers of right wing causes and think tanks in the US. While it was in operation, BEST was championed by the likes of WattsUPwiththat, who said that he would back whatever they said, in the expectation that they would be vindicated.
There was new data that would stop all the heat island stuff and lots of other things that the climate scientists had missed or misused. The preliminary report came out and said....nothing new. The headline in the Daily Mail was 'weather records concludes globe IS warming'. Ouch! They supported what everyone else was saying, and Wattsup repidely said they would wait for the main report (which was a first). However BEST is a new set of data (raw), and you should use it. See what you get.
As for the historical tempreture data, again, look at the original evidence. You have access to all of it, plus the algorithims you need. If you want to weigh the data in a particular way, to get rid of bias, then you can do it. However, I would point out that Mann's 'hockey stick' (which has been attacked more times than everyones had hot dinners) has been supports by more than 10 other studies showing very much the same trend. But if you want to look at the original data, such as bristle pines, ice and mud cores, dendrocronology, etc, you can. And you can make your own mind, based on the best evidence.
I think thats the point. Look at what the scientists say, and check their data. Ignore the press if you can. If your checking it, then you can trust it, and run your own analysis . You can therefore be a true 'skeptic'.
Can I just add here that I personally do not want anybody to show me proof for or against global warning. Why? Because I wouldn't understand it. A tiny amount of scientific knowledge is enough to pull any rug of belief from beneath my feet, because, as I say, I don't know; I don't understand. I am not a scientist. How can I demand proof when somebody could disprove it equally convincingly (to me) 10 seconds later?
But: if 99% of scientists (or 90%, or 75%) say this is the way things look, then I'm afraid that's what I will trust. In order to be against the idea of global warming, I would somehow have to believe that 99% of scientists have been bought off, and that i can get at the truth through my own means. Even David Bellamy couldn't do that.
Last edited by Rowdon; 19-06-12 at 09:05 AM.
It seems there are no half measures to be adopted however. If you believe there is "Global Warming" you seem to then have to believe in all the solutions whole-heartedly and in the doomsday scenario's, just as wholeheartedly. This is why I think the arguments should be separated a little. It is clear that temperature measurements recently have indicated "global" temperatures are rising. Perhaps some deny this, I'm not sure - it's difficult to see how they could. Often the debate about what we should do about this data then leads back to furious argument about how serious this warming is, whether it has been a temporary blip, whether it might have happened anyway etc etc
Within the unscientific public there is confusion because as has been mentioned in this Thread, things in everyday experience don't seem to feel warmer. My first entry into this Thread was to point to the Day After Tomorrow movie, because that endeavoured to show a scenario of rapid climate change prompted by the stopping of the Gulf Stream - prompted by the melting of the Arctic ice... possibly prompted by global warming..... which then led to rapid global cooling and the entire poulation of the USA moving to Mexico, which was a nice geo-political notion..... Somebody else pointed out that the scientific terminology of global warming might be better exchanged for the terminology of Climate Change. I agree with MikeB that continued argument about facts are merely serving to stifle the taking of any decisions at all.
However I'm not entirely sure that the terrible fear of CO2 in the atmosphere strikes the same level of fear in me as the the fears I grew up with, of Nuclear Winter and Radioactive Fallout and the end of humanity that way. More food for plants it seems to me might be a good thing, and if Siberia and Canada melt a little, imagine the forests that might spring up to replace the one the Brazilians are cutting down. There's more than one end-game here, and it is only a year or so ago that we were being told via the media of the scientists claiming the Gulf of Mexico was doomed because of Shell's busted oil-rig, and before that it was Alaska and before that Cornwall etc etc. The planet can always re-absorb whatever it is made of itself, given a little time. Some in the green movement are now asking for more nuclear power, which seems astonishing given that neither we nor the planet have the foggiest idea what to do with Plutonium and this other man-made crap.
The debate about who is right and what should be done has a parallel just now in the media with Jacques Peretti's series about "The Men Who Made Us Fat". Just as with global warming, an epidemic of obesity has overtaken Anglo-Americans (at least) and this all seems to be coming back to one scientific theory gaining pre-eminence over all others, and that theory was that by removing FAT from food, we could avoid becoming fat ourselves - so we gorge on sugars instead.... and have become fatter than ever. All done I should add, on the best peer-reviewed scientific evidence.
Last edited by Moor Larkin; 19-06-12 at 09:53 AM. Reason: fat chance
Rowdon - your right, it is a sad clip. Bellamy was part of my childhood too, and to see him handwaving so pitifully is rather sad. As for Monbiot, he has his moments of daftness (biochar and a sudden love of nuclear), but if you want real loopiness, check out the comments after his articles. The one where he called out those 'truthers' who think 9/11 was an inside job is a classic. The comments are truely off the wall.
Your also right about the scientific data. The vast majority of us don't understand the algorithims and equations needed to truely get to the heart of the science. Like medicine, sometimes we have to trust people. All we can do is inform ourselves in the best way possible, and 'keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out'.
Moor Larkin - The Day After Tomorrow is a fun film, but its based on a pretty extreme scenario. Although 'greens' in general did not complain at any attempt to bring the effects of climate change to a wider audience, the scientists dismissed it out of hand. One blogger wrote about the reaction of climate scientists to it .
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php...te-scientists/The wrinkle I offer that I discovered many scientists would be marginally comfortable offering their opinions if asked but saw it as an entirely different thing to initiate the expression of their opinion. Passive participation was OK; active was not.
A case in point was the 2004 opening of the science fantasy film The Day After Tomorrow , in which the cryosphere goes global in about 90 minutes. Thermodynamic impossibilities aside, at last Hollywood was using the term “paleo-climatologist,” and we at WHOI had a chance to capture the public’s attention, riding on the science-fantasy coattails as science fact-tellers.
I met with a handful of climate scientists before the film opened and discussed how we, as an institution, might take advantage of the moment. The scientists all wanted to run, not walk, from such foolishness.
So we passed. The The Day After Tomorrow came and went. we posted a climate change FAQ to our website and waited for the phone to ring. As I recall, it never did.
Its true we don't regard climate change as a threat, in the same way as nuclear war, etc. Thats hardly surprising. As humans we tend to react to threats we can see. The similie thats often used it the idea of the frog sitting in a jar of water. If the water is boiling, then the frog will leap straight out. If the water is cold and gently heated, then so gradual is the warming that the frog just stays there, until it dies. There is even a climate blog named after this!
Unfortunately, the idea that Co2 is a 'good' thing for plants is slightly mistaken. Its true that higher levels of CO2 will boost growth in some plants, but this supposes that the plants also have enough water, etc. And since higher tempretures will likely mean less water, there might be a negative effect. Some plants react to increased CO2 levels by reducing the level of photosynthesis, and higher levels of CO2 can also lead to plants less able to cope with pests and disease.
The Acrtic has been particularly hit by global warming. Although the tundra is capable of growing small trees, shrub, etc (and possibly will be suitable for farming), it will no no way make up for the massive and catastrophic loss of bio-diversity from the death of the equatorial forests (which have built up over millions of years). The die-back of these forests will release a huge amount of extra carbon into the air. The new growth in the more northerly regions will be relatively limited (as will the carbon takeup), and of course the thawing of the permafrost will also release a large amount of carbon, including increasing amounts of the (very potent) greeehouse gase, methane. The loss of ice in the Arctic and increasing tempretures will also make it more likely that deep sea methane clathrates will become unstable and release huge amounts of methane. Present inhabitants of the tundra find that the melting of the permafrost has led to problems with buildings, as their foundations become unstable.
Again, look at what the scientists say, not the media. The media were right to look at the damage from the spill, but moved on quickly, and were often eager to embrace any good news. In reality, the effects will long-term and often unapparent at first.we were being told via the media of the scientists claiming the Gulf of Mexico was doomed because of Shell's busted oil-righttp://www.nwf.org/oil-spill/effects-on-wildlife.aspxThough oil is no longer readily visible on the surface, it isn’t gone. Scientists have found significant amounts on the Gulf floor, and the oil that has already washed into wetlands and beaches will likely persist for years. We likely will not see the full extent of impacts for many years
A story in the WSJ expresses similar fears. '"The death and destruction that many predicted hasn't come through for a lot of reasons," said Robert Haddad, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's assessment and restoration effort. "But everywhere we look throughout the Gulf things are just a little bit out of kilter." http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...866694420.html - The reality was that the oil vanished from the surface, but ended up under it, where it continues to cause damage (including shrimps who apparently have no eyes). For followups, you could start by looking at Mother Jones magazine, which has done some excellent followup work. Or you could enjoy this send up of a rather cheesy BP ad http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=PjxtytNaXQQ
As far as a Alaska and other disasters are concerned, its worth bearing in mind another quote from the NWF webpage - 'It wasn't until four years after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster that the herring population collapsed. Twenty years later, it is still has not recovered.'
The 'prominant greens' mentioned in the media are often just that - prominant only in the media. The nuclear power fans are Stewart Brand, Lovelock, Mark Lynas, Chris Goodall and George Monbiot. The last three are journalists/writers, Lovelock is frankly a media queen, and Brand (according to his friend Amory Lovins) knows nothing about power economics (unlike Amory Lovins). None are heads of major green organisations. And your right - nuclear fans still havn't to get rid of the waste they already have.
Paretti's series is actaully pretty good so far. He talks to Marion Nestle http://www.foodpolitics.com/about/ , who I've long been a fan of. However, it not entirely fair to say it was peer-reviewed science that allowed the change from fat to sugar. As detailed by Nestle and touched on by Pollen (Michael Pollen's In Defence of Food' is a good read), there were scientific papers which made the case for these changes. But equally, there were probably also other studies which pointed the other way. It was by lobbying and PR from the large food processors and agribusiness (plus some scientific evidence), which led to the changes in the American (and the worlds) diet. Actually, it could be argued that the modern American diet is simply the highly evolved version of the 'Western diet', which has caused such damage when applied to people unused to it.
Either way, Science was basically sidelined in this debate, unless it was useful (nothing new there). Money, spin and political access was much more important. Again, its the way of the world. Of course, you also have to see the role of the media in this. They distorted what advice should have been given ('eat food, not too much, mostly leaves', as Michael Pollan puts it), and helped create a new and profitable market on the back of that distortion. They then get to report on the aftermath of that, and express horror. It why you should always check what the media means by going to what scientists actually said, rather than what a journalist said they are saying.