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hobgoblin
Having recently had a reunion with a friend of mine who works as a fairly senior scientist for a branch of the UN, we had a conversation about global warming. This guy is is pretty competent and is privy to much of what we are simply not being told.

Basically, according to what he knows and deduces from it, we are already fucked and we are long past the last point where anything can be done to take any action that will have any noticeable effect. We are now living in the final few decades of tolerable human life on earth and it is too late to do anything about it.

So is it actually worth the effort of us trying to recycle things, cut back on emissions, live more sustainably etc?
Donnie Darko
While his opinion may be qualified, does he represent a scientific consensus on the matter, or is that just the opinion of one scientist? Negative feedback systems do suggest that we are rapidly approaching or even may be past the point of no return, but just because the most dismal estimations predict that does not mean they are the correct estimations.

I think the biggest problem with global warming is that scientists tend to convey much factual information (many of the facts being alarming) which is fine, but an unscientific populace will only view that information as discouraging, and will throw their hands up in the air feeling futile. I read an interesting article in the Telegraph recently on this very subject. Golden Compass author Philip Pullman, who is an environmental activist, co-authored a book with all sorts of hope-oriented possible solutions which will helpfully combat apathy on the matter:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.jhtm…apullman119.xml

The bottom line is that we are not entirely certain as to exactly when environmental collapse will occur and whether it will terminate life on earth or merely cause inconvenience. Not knowing the answer to that question is not an excuse to not do everything possible to prevent it now. Even if the environmental situation will wipe us all out, switching to sustainable energy might just delay it. Maybe that would be a waste of time and resources, but we're already wasting time and resources. At least this way we'd be wasting them for a noble ambition, rather than just continuing our myopic status quo of housewives driving gas guzzling SUVs around suburbia and allegiance to fossil fuels, all the while allowing large industry to pollute willy nilly without even the slightest requirement that they clean up their mess or face any significant punishment for their gross disregard for our livelihoods.

If you knew an asteroid were heading for earth, would you say "well, we don't have anything available to stop it, so we're fucked" and throw your hands in the air, or would you do literally everything you could to find something that could deter annihilation, no matter how remote your chances of success might be?

I'd prefer the latter. Odds appear most insurmountable before you've done everything in your power to change those odds. If you had asked Isaac Newton if we would in the future have a way to have a discussion with anyone on earth at the speed of light, he would have thought the odds against that would be astronomical, and yet here we are typing away…
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 25 2008, 06:55 PM) *

While his opinion may be qualified, does he represent a scientific consensus on the matter, or is that just the opinion of one scientist?

Of course it is his opinion, which he would admit, but his view, according to him, is fairly widely held.

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 25 2008, 06:55 PM) *

I think the biggest problem with global warming is that scientists tend to convey much factual information (many of the facts being alarming) which is fine, but an unscientific populace will only view that information as discouraging, and will throw their hands up in the air feeling futile.

He didn't simply convey a bunch of facts, he gave me his view of what the implications in real terms of these facts were, and I could not find any flaw in part of his logic. What we are being told is only the tip of the iceberg, what we are not being told is apparantly far more shocking and alarming than what we are being told.

If a Tsunami was imminent, putting up some sandbags at your front door might be a hopeful, well-meaning act, but it's not going to make any difference.

When I next have a beer with my friend I will try not to mention global warming as what he told me has played heavily on my mind since.

Marc
Glad you're having fun again guyz.
The Newgate Calendar is da place for Hob!
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Jan 25 2008, 02:10 PM) *

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 25 2008, 06:55 PM) *

While his opinion may be qualified, does he represent a scientific consensus on the matter, or is that just the opinion of one scientist?

Of course it is his opinion, which he would admit, but his view, according to him, is fairly widely held.


Then his view merits publishing in lots of journals. I'd like to hear more of his view.

QUOTE
What we are being told is only the tip of the iceberg, what we are not being told is apparantly far more shocking and alarming than what we are being told.


Did he say what it is we are not being told? Scientists are usually not inclined to withhold information, or by "not being told" does he mean that climatologists are saying it but what they are saying is being surpressed?

QUOTE
When I next have a beer with my friend I will try not to mention global warming as what he told me has played heavily on my mind since.


I just hope the cause for concern doesn't translate into paralysis. At bare minimum, even if it does nothing to save the environment, it is in our short term interest to pursue sustainable energy, even if we all still die in the end. While we are alive, wouldn't it be nice to eat fish that don't poison us with mercury, to breathe air that doesn't give us respiratory disease, and to drive vehicles that do not fund companies who advocate war for profit? The goal is to minimize suffering, and even if plugging the entire planet into solar panels tomorrow wouldn't impeded global warming and mass extinction, we should at least do all we can to make our time prior to extinction a little more pleasant.

And of course in the meantime maybe we'll have enough time to develop proper space travel and terraforming technologies which might allow us to escape the fate to which your friend believes we have condemned our planet.
Wild Bill Turkey
QUOTE
the fate to which we've condemned our planet

I know we've heard this before, but it bears repeating that the planet will not be destroyed by our actions. We're only worried about ruining its ability to sustain us in the manner to which we've become accustomed (or sustain us at all). Not only will the planet survive us, but depending on how we wind up killing ourselves off, there's a strong possibility that the planet will restabilize itself pretty quickly, and possibly even return to a reasonably idylic state.

My guess is that human society will collapse all at once, after a few key things hit a breaking point. All large-scale industry will stop at around the same time. If, in the final moments, desperate madmen start launching missiles in vain fights over dwindling resources, then of course we're all fucked and the whole biosphere could be severly damaged. But if it doesn't go that way, then we may wind up in one of those post-apolcolyptic scenarios that have always been the bread and butter of the sci-fi industry.

In which case, we may be looking at something more akin to an ice age, where isolated pockets of survivors live to start over, after a few centuries of global recovery.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 25 2008, 07:55 PM) *

Did he say what it is we are not being told? Scientists are usually not inclined to withhold information, or by "not being told" does he mean that climatologists are saying it but what they are saying is being surpressed?


He said quite a few things about the acceleration of global warming being greatly downplayed and that it is now apparent that it is far far faster than previously assumed. He talked a lot about the arctic circle, and more importantly how the rate and acceleration of global warming will have an extreme effect on places like China, Bangladesh etc. Places that will be uninhabitable and where a large proportion of the global population live, and obviously these people will want to move somewhere else. About the accelerating increase in new diseases as a result of global warming, and our ever increasing amount of allergies and decreasing immunity to combat such diseases as a result of our over cleanliness. He told me facts and figures that demonstrated the hugely increased acceleration of this process that is now apparent, but since it is not my normal practice to take notes when talking with friends don't ask me to quote them. But last night what he said seemed pretty conclusive.

As for scientists witholding information, a great many scientists and the institutions they work for are publicly funded with the purse-strings being either directly or indirectly controlled by governments and vested interests. They make public what is permitted/tolerated. A small publiclly known example of this was the USA government's response to the 'Day after tomorrow' film ordering publicly/government funded scientists not to discuss the film with the media.


QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 25 2008, 07:55 PM) *

And of course in the meantime maybe we'll have enough time to develop proper space travel and terraforming technologies which might allow us to escape the fate to which your friend believes we have condemned our planet.


He never said the planet was condemned, he said that many species were indeed condemned, and that the human race would survive, but in a state that we would consider intolerable in current terms.

That the lack of action on the part of governments over the issue is that they are fully aware of what lies ahead, but that they know nothing can really be done to prevent it.

As for space travel solving our problems. Do you really think we will be able to transport humans to space and settle in sufficient numbers within a few decades? Even if we could, which of the planets would you suggest we settle on? Which of the planets has a temperature humans could tolerate, an atmosphere we could breathe, and more importantly conditions in which we could grow food. Permanent, ongoing human life on any of the planets in our solar system is just not sustainable in anything other than perhaps the very distant future.
Wild Bill Turkey
Isn't that what the terraforming technologies he mentioned are about?
Donnie Darko
What he predicts does sound very dire. I wouldn't question his predictions as far as climate goes, I think the last few years have shown that climatologists have frequently underestimated the severity of the warming and the rate at which it is increasing.

I'm not convinced that there are zero solutions and that all is hopeless, however. I think things can be done to either slow it or make enduring it a bit more bearable, and what cannot be done now may be attainable in the near future if research is pursued aggressively enough. Of course doing so will take drastic action on the part of elected leaders and industry, and when it comes to elected leaders and industry leading us forward, I'm very skeptical.

However…

The homo evolutionary branch has been around for at least 2.4 million years. While 99% of all species on earth have gone extinct, the homo branch has been extraordinarily adept at survival. We've survived numerous widespread plagues and pestilence, floods and drastic weather fluctuations. Global warming in some instance predicts a new Ice Age. We survived the last one 10,000 years ago. We survived it without the aid of any of the technologies we have developed to aid our survival in modern times. The human species is a resilient one, and while surviving the upcoming challenge of rapid climate change may be a daunting task, and a lot of people may die, I think that, as before, some of us will survive and come out of it sturdier.

Ironically, while the engine of capitalism may have gotten us into this mess through creating a fossil fuel culture indifferent to polllution, I also believe it can get us out. Investment in sustainable energy technology is growing at enormous rates, in fact "green" stocks are seeing growth even while the rest of the conventional elements of the market are getting hammered. Even if mere greed motivates investment in sustainable energy technologies, the byproduct is that we get a lot of energy technologies that will wreak far less havoc on the environment than we are currently causing. This may not be a complete solution to the problem, but I think it is one puzzle piece in the solution. I do think it's of extreme urgency that we reduce consumption and divert resources and education towards implementing what technologies we have now to prevent our exacerbating the situation. Perhaps that will buy us enough time to do enough research that will lead to creative solutions to this problem.

Of course if we don't have enough able minded young people inclined towards this crucial research and an economy that will encourage it, then we're really fucked.

Bill is correct that we will not destroy the planet. The planet has survived at least 3 asteroid collisions, and yet we still have life here! Since we've made it this far, though, we really owe it to ourselves and the rest of biology here to be good stewards, and to find a way to keep evolution moving forward rather than having to reboot. Our own personal lives are short, but if we let a possible impending demise discourage us, we'll guarantee the shortening of lives of those in the future, maybe even prevent their coming into being altogether. To not take up the "bother" of stopping global warming will guarantee failure and mass suffering or even human extinction.
Tibro
Homo inebriate asks, "Will there be absinthe to drink?"

Worst case scenario: Yes, but there will be no ice water.

If the apocalypse is coming as predicted, which is more deleterious, creating the heat needed for distillation or creating and using the energy necessary to continue freezing water?

I ain't worried about the herbs.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Wild Bill Turkey @ Jan 25 2008, 09:47 PM) *

Isn't that what the terraforming technologies he mentioned are about?


Oh right. Perhaps if we have a few hundred years to wait this might be feasible, but for the present, short term, or even medium term, future this is, for all practical purposes, science fiction. By the time we could perhaps do such things it would be too late, and by then our infrastructure and major industries that would enable us to make such advances will probably have collapsed anyway.

Perhaps too we might be able to utilise black holes or even wormholes to travel to distant galaxies to create and set up new civilisations? Afterall the Starship enterprise can do it.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 25 2008, 10:22 PM) *

Of course doing so will take drastic action on the part of elected leaders and industry, and when it comes to elected leaders and industry leading us forward, I'm very skeptical.


An immediate dismantling of the oil industry would probably have an impact, but that sure isn't going to happen?

QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 25 2008, 10:22 PM) *
The human species is a resilient one, and while surviving the upcoming challenge of rapid climate change may be a daunting task, and a lot of people may die, I think that, as before, some of us will survive and come out of it sturdier.

I never said that the human race would die out, but it'll be one hell of a fucked up way for 2 generations younger than ourselves to live in (that is assuming you are around my age), leaving our future grandchildren a life of untold misery, death, disease, famine and desolation..
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 25 2008, 10:22 PM) *

Ironically, while the engine of capitalism may have gotten us into this mess through creating a fossil fuel culture indifferent to pollution, I also believe it can get us out. Investment in sustainable energy technology is growing at enormous rates, in fact "green" stocks are seeing growth even while the rest of the conventional elements of the market are getting hammered. Even if mere greed motivates investment in sustainable energy technologies, the byproduct is that we get a lot of energy technologies that will wreak far less havoc on the environment than we are currently causing.

By the time the market causes the changes to greener energy it will be too late. It moves too slowly. Perhaps if we had been in the position we are now (as far as market changes go) in the 1970's then they might have the time to do some good, but global warming has gone too far for these gradual shifts in investment to make any real impact.
Donnie Darko
Actually the real strides of green technology have not come from stock offerings nearly as much as from venture capital that has come mainly from all these young guys that got rich off of the internet boom in the 90s. Venture capital is of course risky, but usually in that case R&D isn't limited by funding, but only by the speed at which researchers can develop the product.

Nanosolar recently shipped the first printed solar cell assembly, which is about 75% less costly than standard PV solar cells, and also more efficient (PV solar costs at minimum $4/Watt whereas Nanosolar's unit will cost about $1/Watt). US Geothermal is already generating power for some people and the demand is rising rapidly. And China is such a guzzler of energy that fossil fuel alone cannot meed their needs, and so they're actually investing heavily in solar. Of course they're also shitting into the air and poisoning their rivers, and they may kill us all if the US doesn't do it first, but the funds are there to grow profits in green technologies quite rapidly and China is a big source of revenue for solar development. China's STP (Suntech Power Corp) stock is already trading at a higher value than Microsoft. MEMC Electronic Materials, the company that makes polysilicon that is used in both solar cells and microchips has seen their stock price triple over the last year. These aren't gradual shifts in investment. They reflect big buying opportunities in the market and all of those companies I just named have very optimistic forecasts and people waiting in line to buy their products.

Of course the motive of investors in most of these instances is 80% greed, 20% good will, but they are smart in that they see a weakness in the oil industry, and see it as a lumbering outdated filthy old model and see consumers becoming more ready to adopt sustainable energy solutions. $100 a barrel oil is bad for the oil companies because it increases demand for alternatives to oil and increases investment in those alternatives.

Of course our upcoming election may just flush all those ambitions down the crapper…
Jaded Prole
Hob's friend is right. The "feedback loops" in nature that have managed to keep global temps withing a certain range have all reversed. Methane is pouring out of thawing tundra at an alarming rate -- far worse than the total carbon emissions of industry at this point. The seas are dying due to ph changes, pollution, overfishing and increased UV and as the ice caps shrink of course less heat/light is reflected and more is absorbed. We can expect increased droughts, changes in weather patterns, rising seas, and much longer hurricane seasons with much worse hurricanes, and tornadoes.

We can adapt but civilization as we know it will end as economies collapse. I don't envy the children. I think there will be areas manage top fare better but for most of us, the best thing about the future is that we'll be dead.

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think. At least things are still good now.
Donnie Darko
The reality of it really hit home for me when I visited Switzerland and saw the receding glacier on top of Mt. Pilatus. They had photos of where the glacier was 30 years ago and the difference was astounding.

As for there not being white surfaces of snow to reflect as much as before, this may be incredibly naive of me, but wouldn't large white reflective tarps or layers of plastic (you know, the kind you see spread over miles of crops all the time) help reflect light and keep the ice from receding further? Would it be impossible to cover up portions of water at edges of the arctic ice sheet to reflect light and keep temperatures from escalating?

Also, methane is actually a great source of renewable energy. Maybe it's impossible to capture naturally occurring environmental methane, but some farmers are already independently powering their entire cattle farms from methane recycled from cow manure. They process the manure, extract the methane which fees a turbine, and the rest of the waste is processed into something totally sanitary that has the same function, appearance and aroma as sawdust. I wonder if environmental methane can't be harnessed?
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Jan 26 2008, 02:54 AM) *


We can adapt but civilization as we know it will end as economies collapse. I don't envy the children. I think there will be areas manage top fare better but for most of us, the best thing about the future is that we'll be dead.

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think. At least things are still good now.


That pretty much sums up my scientist friend's attitude when he said to me that he is thankful that he won't be alive when the worst of this inevitable shit starts to land on humanity. He said he really pities those humans who will be around at around the year 2100, (i.e. the grandchildren of the current young adult population).

He very much takes the attitude of enjoy it while it lasts, as he spends a third of his year jetting all around the world meeting people that the rest of us only get to see on news broadcasts.

Is it really worth the effort of taking your glass bottles to the recycling bank if we really are in the end game of tolerable civilised human life and there is no realistic prospect of correcting things?
Jaded Prole
I recycle bottles.

As for methane as an energy source; it has long been my view that we could recycle the vast quantities of sewerage that we produce and extract enough methane to run a national electrical power grid. Our nation could be all but done with oil and be energy independent and much more ecologically sustainable. The reason it won't happen in the US is that it would need to be a public works projects like the EPA and the big dams and the ideological orthodoxy of the right (enforced by corporate interests) won't allow it.

Big ecological changes may change that attitude and it could yet happen. Global warming will kill off the majority of large life-forms before it's over. We can't stop it from happening but we CAN alter the length and extent of if.
Wild Bill Turkey
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 25 2008, 07:17 PM) *

I wonder if environmental methane can't be harnessed?

If they could develop a small-scale methane collector for indoor use, there are plenty of nights I could supply power to everyone on my block.
Breson
I have a very good friend that is a Marine Biologist that was part of the US delegation to the Kyoto Accord meetings. It is extremely enlightening, as a layperson bombarded with information, to be able to speak privately with him

The situation is not that there is "nothing" we can do to affect it. The problem is many of the ultra expensive knee jerk reactions to it will have a negligible effect, and therefore not worth that amount of money and effort and economic turmoil. A more sensible solution is systematic & more gradual changes to the way we live that would be instituted over decades. 100 years from now these measures will have the same net effect.

To a certain extent, rising traditional energy costs are going to drive the research and utilization of alternative cleaner forms of energy.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Jan 26 2008, 07:24 AM) *

We can't stop it from happening but we CAN alter the length and extent of if.


That's why we should embrace as many sustainable solutions now as we can. We cannot always anticipate what innovations will come about in the future, there may be none, or there may be carbon dioxide and methane eating nano-bots invented that prevent the entire thing. What we can do is reduce our energy consumption now in the hopes that even better alternatives will present themselves in the future. If they don't? Hey, at least we weren't as wasteful as before.
Kirk
We are over due for an ice age, someone better turn the heat up[.
Jaded Prole
That iceage is inevitable too but will be delayed for several centuries.
anatomist
The way I heard it most recently was probably interviews on a CBC radio science show. What they said is similar to what Hob's friend said. I don't remember the time frame, but the idea was that, because of the time it takes for things we've already done to play out, there is nothing we can do about things getting worse for a while… maybe 50 to 100 years, I don't remember. Apparently, even if someone used magic to stop all the harmful trends and turn all the worlds tech and industry "green" right now, the die is cast as far as that goes. If we start systematically doing everything reasonably plausible now, we could set new trends in motion that would improve things starting whenever that future point it. However, there is very little time to get started, and the kind of stuff that needs to be done is pretty unlikely politically and economically.

The stuff about it being worse than we thought is right too. One guy they interviewed was some kind of major player in writing the lastest update to the IPCC reports and predictions. He explained, first off, that the IPCC report is just the most tame, middle-of-the-road assessment. They had to get thousands of the top world climate scientists to agree on it, so it is necessarily conservative in statement and prediction. Apparently, things are now significantly worse than those predictions from the last update. This guy said that the science was conclusive enough by most informed standards to motivate serious measures around 20 years ago, and we're now at the point described above.

This means the real villains in this are the propagandists that snowed the US public and all the stupid brainwashed motherfuckers who believed them. To this day we still have people denying basic facts about climate change up to 20 years old in staggering proportions, and we are pretty much alone in the world in this.

Incidentally, if you are an armchair science geek, I can't recommend the CBC radio shows enough. They're free on podcast. Right now they are doing a 8 hour plus series called "How to think about science", in which they review and interview some of the most prominent contemporary people with new ideas about the philosophy of science at length. Quirks and Quarks is their version of NPR Sci-Fri, and it's much better. I find most of their shows beat NPR equivalents, because they don't waste time with public call-ins. I never understood why NPR thinks we want to hear a bunch of random idiots call in with half-baked opinions when they have some kind of articulate expert sitting right there in the studio.
hobgoblin
It does make me think though when I see big 4x4's (or SUV's as you Americans call them) at the bottle bank with their 1 driver unloading wine bottles in a well-meaning attempt to act environmentally responsibly. The fact that their driving to the bottle bank and back has probably done more harm to the environment than their recycling of bottles has helped it, no doubt has escaped them. The same people no-doubt make sure that the contents of their children's lunch-boxes come from 'environmentally sound' sources before they then drive their big petrol-guzzling unnecessarily huge cars the round trip of distance of 1 mile to drop their children off to school and back each morning. The 'educated' middle-classes, don't you just love them?
anatomist
QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Jan 26 2008, 11:16 AM) *

That iceage is inevitable too but will be delayed for several centuries.


Actually, last I heard, global warming will actually cause the next ice age. The more we accelerate it, the faster it will come. When enough of the glaciers melt, the massive dump of cold water into the ocean will disrupt and possibly shut down the under-ocean conveyor, and atmospheric conveyors, especially the gulf stream. This last bit is of particular import to europe. Without the gulf stream, the UK will be more like Iceland and the rest of Europe will by more like nothern Canada… and that will just be the prelude to the actual ice age.
Donnie Darko
Thanks for the tip on the CBC radio shows. I'm always watching/listening/reading armchair science geek stuff.
anatomist
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 26 2008, 02:39 PM) *

Thanks for the tip on the CBC radio shows. I'm always watching/listening/reading armchair science geek stuff.


I subscribe to podcasts for Quirks & Quarks, and a show called Ideas. I think the philosophy of science series is a special version of the Ideas show, which is sometimes good and sometimes a snore. The best one on there was a two part show on all the most recent historical scholarship about what was really going on during the cold war behind the scenes.

Another great CBC offering is their indie radio station, which is similar to a good US station like KCRW in LA or KEXP in Seattle, except they only play Canadian music, with all the genres mixed up all the time. Easy player on the site too:

http://radio3.cbc.ca/



Neptunati
QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Jan 25 2008, 09:54 PM) *

Hob's friend is right. The "feedback loops" in nature that have managed to keep global temps withing a certain range have all reversed. Methane is pouring out of thawing tundra at an alarming rate -- far worse than the total carbon emissions of industry at this point. The seas are dying due to ph changes, pollution, overfishing and increased UV and as the ice caps shrink of course less heat/light is reflected and more is absorbed. We can expect increased droughts, changes in weather patterns, rising seas, and much longer hurricane seasons with much worse hurricanes, and tornadoes.

We can adapt but civilization as we know it will end as economies collapse. I don't envy the children. I think there will be areas manage top fare better but for most of us, the best thing about the future is that we'll be dead.

Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think. At least things are still good now.



QUOTE(Kirk @ Jan 26 2008, 10:28 AM) *

We are over due for an ice age, someone better turn the heat up[.



QUOTE(anatomist @ Jan 26 2008, 12:52 PM) *

QUOTE(Jaded Prol @ Jan 26 2008, 11:16 AM) *

That iceage is inevitable too but will be delayed for several centuries.


Actually, last I heard, global warming will actually cause the next ice age. The more we accelerate it, the faster it will come. When enough of the glaciers melt, the massive dump of cold water into the ocean will disrupt and possibly shut down the under-ocean conveyor, and atmospheric conveyors, especially the gulf stream. This last bit is of particular import to europe. Without the gulf stream, the UK will be more like Iceland and the rest of Europe will by more like nothern Canada… and that will just be the prelude to the actual ice age.


I was going to say something along the lines of the last quote. But as I have read it was that all the melted glacier water will mess up the earths axis and that would create the beginning stages for an ice age. By the by I was reading an article about possible up cumming nano technolgy. Saying they would be able to produce bacterium's that could eat the bad ozone depleting gases and shit out vintage absinthe er air. So can technology clean up our past mistakes?
anatomist
QUOTE(Neptunati @ Jan 26 2008, 10:27 PM) *


I was going to say something along the lines of the last quote. But as I have read it was that all the melted glacier water will mess up the earths axis and that would create the beginning stages for an ice age. By the by I was reading an article about possible up cumming nano technolgy. Saying they would be able to produce bacterium's that could eat the bad ozone depleting gases and shit out vintage absinthe er air. So can technology clean up our past mistakes?


Some points:

1)The earth is really big, man. I just googled up some astronomy sites and came up with a figure of 0.0014 for the percentage of the earth's mass made up by oceans. Temperature has nothing to do with mass anyway. What this means is that as absurd as your supposition appeared to me at first, it is in reality several orders of magnitude more absurd still.

2)Bacteria are not nanotechnology. Nano scale is way, way smaller than bacteria scale. Look it up.

3)Swallowing a load of rose-colored bullshit about the magic powers of technology is exactly what got us into this mess. When you don't understand something, the smartest and best course of action is to stop fucking with it so much, not the most radical, hair-brained intervention scheme you can think of.

In summary: please stop helping.

Thank you.
Jaded Prole
Actually, technology can help but there would be not profit in it and it would have to be on a large scale and for a long time. Probably longer than the organized technological society required to do it has left.
Donnie Darko
While I do not think technology holds all the answers, I do think clever engineering can provide some innovative and workable options that are better than our current status quo of jack shit. Look up where Las Vegas gets its water from and how it gets it. That is an insanely complicated well designed system that provides so much water for people in Las Vegas to waste that it boggles the mind. And it even recycles some of the water back to its original source too. The system is so simple and brilliant in its design that the 400 yard long facility requires about 5 people to run it. How about building something like that (minus the complicated purification systems) in the arctic circle that would take the water, cool it and return it, thus offsetting some warming effects? If receding reflective surfaces in the arctic are exacerbating the situation, how about setting up fields of mirrors to increase reflection of heat? A system like that is already in place in Spain which generates enormous amounts of sustainable energy, so we know it is possible to build huge fields of mirrors. I'm no scientist or engineer, maybe it's a stupid idea, but it's at least AN idea, which is better than NO idea. We have to start somewhere. The process of disproving bad ideas in science often leads to a formulation of a good idea. I do realize that the scale required to actually affect the earth may be enormous, but we certainly seem to have no difficulty affecting the earth by spewing out pollutants on an enormous scale.

I think there are things that can be done that just might help a little, as Prol said the main obstacle is funding. I do understand the likely accurate pessimistic predictions of climatologists. That is their job, and we need to take them seriously. But it is the job of engineers to find brilliant mechanical solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems. Maybe engineers and climatologists need to be talking to each other more…
Nephrite
QUOTE
It is reasonable to assume as a species, our impact on the CO2 content of the atmosphere is minimal. We only contribute a little over 3% of the total CO2 emissions. The vast majority of CO2 emissions are coming from the sea, volcanism and rotting vegetation.


There is no denying that global warming is happening… but there is some debate on the real cause. It appears that our sun may have something to do with global warming not just CO2 emissions. Imagine that! This site nicely sums it up.

http://www.human-global-warming.co.uk/glob…r-activity.html

Apparently our sun does not have a constant rate of temperature over the centuries. Is it possible that global warming is independent of man? Not that we're helping things… at least I don't drive a car to work every day.

More random food for thought:
http://digg.com/educational/Man_made_Globa…of_the_argument
http://www.globalwarminghoax.com

What a beautiful January day to go surfing!
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 27 2008, 03:17 PM) *

How about building something like that (minus the complicated purification systems) in the arctic circle that would take the water, cool it and return it, thus offsetting some warming effects? If receding reflective surfaces in the arctic are exacerbating the situation, how about setting up fields of mirrors to increase reflection of heat? A system like that is already in place in Spain which generates enormous amounts of sustainable energy, so we know it is possible to build huge fields of mirrors.


The argument that if we can do it for Las Vegas then surely we can do something like it for the Arctic (as well as of course freezing the water as well) doesn't hold. The scale of operation to supply Las Vegas with water is miniscule compared to the scale involved in the melting Arctic.

It would be pretty easy for any of us to syphon some water from a defrosted refrigerator back through a tube into a container in a freezer and refreeze it, but does that mean that we can do the same with the melting Arctic? Pretty much anything is of course theoretically possible if you extrapolate from small scale successes to vastly scale problems. It is however the scale that is the problem.

Then there is the timescale involved. Latest predictions state that the Arctic is likely to be ice-free during the summer by the year 2010. That's 2 years from now! 12 months ago the prediction for this to happen was by 2040. The predictions concerning the effects and scale of global warming are getting revised dramatically at an increasingly alarming rate.

Even if we could do what you suggest, by the time we could rush to get the equipment invented, organised transported and set up (even if all the meetings and negotiations to do so could be rushed through at breakneck speed), the Arctic will have melted. We are a decade too late to act and make a difference.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(ajunkie @ Jan 27 2008, 04:31 PM) *

There is no denying that global warming is happening… but there is some debate on the real cause.


Only in the USA (but then you do seem to have some emotional tie with fossil fuels).

There is no debate in the rest of the world, where it has pretty much been accepted for the last decade that carbon emissions are the prime culprit. The suggestion that is not caused by man-made emissions is propaganda lead by those who have a vested interest in oil (including your President). Scientific opinion is pretty unanimous on the main cause of the problem we are facing, only a very small handful of cranks and those with vested interests say otherwise.

The reluctance of the USA administration to admit that man-made carbon emissions have caused the problem has put us all in a position that we are now too late to take any meaningful action. Of course the spineless nature of European administrations, who realised what the cause was, but didn't have the guts to take real action unless the USA took the lead has also put us in the shit. European governments have paid lip-service to solving the problem, but have sat on their arses waiting for the USA to take the lead, meanwhile the USA deliberately stuck its head in the sand and insisted that fossil fuels were not necessarily the cause (and have just recently woken up to the fact that man-made carbon emissions are indeed the prime cause). As a result nothing has been done, so we're in the shit and about a decade past the point where we could have done something about it.
Nephrite
QUOTE

Only in the USA (but then you do seem to have some emotional tie with fossil fuels).


I do not represent the US Oil Industry. I am a US citizen, recycle and rarely drive a car abs-cheers.gif

Did you have a look at http://www.human-global-warming.co.uk/glob…r-activity.html? I believe that site represents England. I'm sure I could probably dig up some more European sites. Thoughts?

Personally, I'm looking forward to another Medieval Optimum rather than a Little Ice Age… which, was more recent.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age
Oxygenee
QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Jan 27 2008, 07:35 PM) *

Then there is the timescale involved. Latest predictions state that the Arctic is likely to be ice-free during the summer by the year 2010.


If you seriously believe that's anything other than comically absurd, raving eco-nazi, soft-minded tree-huggin', alarmist, self-serving balderdash, put your money where your mouth it.

I'll offer you odds of 5 to 1, minimum bet £1000. If the entire Arctic is ice-free in the summer of 2010, I pay you a massive £5000 (enough to send 1000 goats to Darfur, or pay for one good night at Stringfellows with two babelicious Polish girls, just as you prefer) . If it's not, you pay me a paltry £1000. Donnie to adjudicate. Deal?

If, as I suspect, it's not just not ice-free in 2010, but in fact so fuckin' cold that the polar bears are getting frost bite, you additionally have to wear a bandana saying : "I heart.gif Pinochet" to the next meeting of the Socialist Workers Party you attend. 'kay?
hobgoblin
QUOTE(ajunkie @ Jan 27 2008, 04:55 PM) *

Did you have a look at http://www.human-global-warming.co.uk/glob…r-activity.html? I believe that site represents England. I'm sure I could probably dig up some European sites. Thoughts?


That is a pseudo-scientific website with such an obvious partial slant. The make all sorts of crank claims, but they have not one reference for any of their claims. As far as cranky, biased websites go they're not even a good one. This is pure bullshit, but then anyone can set up a website full of bullshit, but with no referenced research to back up any claims.

This is a quote from them

"Science tells us that carbon plays practically no part in global temperature changes. Pumping CO2 into the atmosphere is actually the greener, more environmentally friendly thing to do."

So their message is "Keep burning oil, its actually good for the environment".

Anyone who takes this type of thing seriously has shit for brains.
Nephrite
QUOTE

Anyone who takes this type of thing seriously has shit for brains.


Does a good debate = shit for brains? Then I rest my case… and I still think that the sun may play a role in Global Warming. Could it be possible that this article also represents the oil industry and our government's interest in it? http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA203.html

QUOTE
Archaeological evidence supports studies of the Norse sagas describe the settlement of Greenland in the 9th century AD of land now quite unsuitable for cultivation. For example, excavations at one settlement site have shown the presence of birch trees during the early Viking period.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_climatology
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Jan 27 2008, 05:03 PM) *

QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Jan 27 2008, 07:35 PM) *

Then there is the timescale involved. Latest predictions state that the Arctic is likely to be ice-free during the summer by the year 2010.


If you seriously believe that's anything other than comically absurd, raving eco-nazi, soft-minded tree-huggin', alarmist, self-serving balderdash, put your money where your mouth it.


I'm not getting involved in any bets with you. I didn't make a bet with you when you categorically stated that WMD's would be found in Iraq, that the conflict would be over promptly, and that the USA would be welcomed with open arms. Nor did I make a bet with you when you stated that Tony Blair's position would be strengthened by his stance on the 'War on Terrorism' and that Gordon Brown would be history. I didn't bet with you then, I'm not betting with you now.
Oxygenee
QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Jan 27 2008, 08:14 PM) *

I'm not getting involved in any bets with you.


Pussy.
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Oxygenee @ Jan 27 2008, 05:16 PM) *

QUOTE(hobgoblin @ Jan 27 2008, 08:14 PM) *

I'm not getting involved in any bets with you.


Pussy.


Sitting thinking "I hope the Arctic melts fast as that means I will get £5000 from Oxygenee" is not a position I want to be in.


If I did make a bet on this issue I would be making a bet that I would hope to lose, which defeats the point of making a bet.
Oxygenee
'fraidy cat.
anatomist
QUOTE(ajunkie @ Jan 27 2008, 11:09 AM) *


Does a good debate = shit for brains? Then I rest my case… and I still think that the sun may play a role in Global Warming. Could it be possible that this article also represents the oil industry and our government's interest in it? http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA203.html



That's just it. There is no debate about the anthropogenic component of global warming. The only reason you think so is because you get your information from mainstream US media and industry-paid political propagandists instead of scientists. Try this instead: IPCC Their reports represent the consensus view of the worlds top few thousand climate and climate-related scientists, and they've been at it for 20 years.

As for the sun hypothesis, even if this is true, it actually has the opposite implication from what you suggest. We already know that unrestrained human activity is a major contributor to warming. If rising sun temperatures are contributing significantly as well, then this is all the more reason to do what we can to stop making it worse ourselves. This is basic logic. I suspect your media and propaganda diet also has something to do with you being unable to make such a basic deduction. When I googled it, the only sources I could find trying to put that spin on the new sun findings were right wing front organizations, some young repubs from Duke U, etc…
Donnie Darko
What is an eco-Nazi? Are astrophysicists who are concerned with an asteroid impact astero-Nazis? Climatologists are scientists, who usually are more concerned with evidence than National Socialist behavioral tendencies. Is Oxy an Absinthe Nazi because of his advocacy of his specific field of research?

If Hob's source on the matter is just some pot smoking unhygienic Greenpeace activist and not a climatologist, then the claims are probably alarmist, ill-informed and exaggerated, but the old Rush Limbaugh "eco-Nazi" label only serves as a meaningless propagandistic rallying tool, just the sort of language tool that is favored by totalitarians like the Nazis, incidentally.

I'd like to see evidence presented from both sides that Arctic is either going to soon be ice free or not and see what those qualified to comment on the matter have to say, as opposed to what us, who are not climatologists, have to say. Sorry to be so reasonable.
anatomist
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 27 2008, 09:17 AM) *

While I do not think technology holds all the answers, I do think clever engineering can provide some innovative and workable options that are better than our current status quo of jack shit. Look up where Las Vegas gets its water from and how it gets it. That is an insanely complicated well designed system that provides so much water for people in Las Vegas to waste that it boggles the mind. And it even recycles some of the water back to its original source too. The system is so simple and brilliant in its design that the 400 yard long facility requires about 5 people to run it. How about building something like that (minus the complicated purification systems) in the arctic circle that would take the water, cool it and return it, thus offsetting some warming effects? If receding reflective surfaces in the arctic are exacerbating the situation, how about setting up fields of mirrors to increase reflection of heat? A system like that is already in place in Spain which generates enormous amounts of sustainable energy, so we know it is possible to build huge fields of mirrors. I'm no scientist or engineer, maybe it's a stupid idea, but it's at least AN idea, which is better than NO idea. We have to start somewhere. The process of disproving bad ideas in science often leads to a formulation of a good idea. I do realize that the scale required to actually affect the earth may be enormous, but we certainly seem to have no difficulty affecting the earth by spewing out pollutants on an enormous scale.

I think there are things that can be done that just might help a little, as Prol said the main obstacle is funding. I do understand the likely accurate pessimistic predictions of climatologists. That is their job, and we need to take them seriously. But it is the job of engineers to find brilliant mechanical solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems. Maybe engineers and climatologists need to be talking to each other more…


How about a space umbrella? Not cheap. http://blogs.zdnet.com/emergingtech/?p=400

Anyway, sure, technological counter-measures, tricks, or whatever are a good idea. However, the point of bringing up the idea of a technological magic bullet was to attempt to imply that there is no reason to do anything about emitting greenhouse gases with carefree abandon. This is yet another incarnation of a standard argument put forward in favor of the status quo on virtually every environmental and pollution issue that has come up for decades. This is usually the second one they trot out. First, it's "we need to keep studying, we don't really know, it's just a theory… so let's just keep polluting". Then comes, "Oh well, even though we're fucking everything up real bad, someone will come along soon with an ingenious technological solution to fix it… so let's just keep polluting"


Nephrite
QUOTE

That's just it. There is no debate about the anthropogenic component of global warming. The only reason you think so is because you get your information from mainstream US media and industry-paid political propagandists instead of scientists.


You are labeling me as an American stereotype… would my comments hold more weight if I created a new profile suggesting I'm from France and a member of Parti Socialiste? Making generalizations about different demographic groups and reality in general has its short commings.

I get much of my news from a variety of left, right and fair and balanced sources such as the BBC, Haaretz Daily Newspaper in Israel, Wikipedia (not 100% accurate either) and Google in general. I love researching both sides of any issue so I can retain a reasonably fair and balanced perspective of reality… which, I'm constantly questioning.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1131275.stm

QUOTE
But several scientists outside the IPCC criticised what they described as the "arrogance" of the UN body, insisting that the evidence for global warming was still far from certain.


I know this is getting off topic but Here's an interesting tidbit about the Nobel prize. Did you know that Yasser Arafat was the Winner of the 1994 Nobel Prize in Peace after his hand in the Massacre of Damour??? Let me remind you. Arafat and the PLO plunged Lebanon into "massacres, rape, mutilation, rampages of looting and killings. Out of a population of 3.2 million, some 40,000 or more people had been killed, 100,000 wounded, 5,000 permanently maimed.

http://www.lebaneseforces.com/blastfromthepast002.asp

We could debate forever about political conspiracies, secret agendas and hidden motives of US vs global media and industry-paid political propagandists instead of scientists. I'd much rather talk about absinthe abs-cheers.gif
anatomist
QUOTE(ajunkie @ Jan 27 2008, 01:03 PM) *

QUOTE

That's just it. There is no debate about the anthropogenic component of global warming. The only reason you think so is because you get your information from mainstream US media and industry-paid political propagandists instead of scientists.


Not really, now you're making me feel bad that I'm an American… would my comments hold more weight if I created a new profile suggesting I'm from France and a member of Parti Socialiste?

I get most of my news from the BBC and Google in general. I love researching both sides of any issue too so I can retain a reasonably fair and balanced perspective of reality… which, I'm constantly questioning.


We could debate forever on the secret agendas and hidden motives of US vs global media and industry-paid political propagandists instead of scientists. I'd much rather talk about absinthe abs-cheers.gif


More bullshit demagoguery. I did not state or imply that being an American had anything to do with it, I talked about information sources. I said nothing about socialism either. Straw man. Ad hominem. Lame.

Your subsequent use of "both sides of any issue" and "fair and balanced" outs you. BBC my ass. The latter is a Fox News trademark. Trying to frame a scientific issue as some sort of he said/she said where the truth must lie somewhere in between two competing points of view is simply wrong. Scientific issues are decided by means of hypothesis, experiment, conclusion and a peer-review review process, not by consulting the democratic and republican party platforms and then splitting the difference. This is a basic propaganda trick for the addle-brained: make up an absurd, extreme "other side" to an issue, then insist that the other side concede that the truth is somewhere in a new, made-up "middle". It's only "fair and balanced". It's also freeze-dried bullshit.
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(anatomist @ Jan 27 2008, 01:57 PM) *


Anyway, sure, technological counter-measures, tricks, or whatever are a good idea. However, the point of bringing up the idea of a technological magic bullet was to attempt to imply that there is no reason to do anything about emitting greenhouse gases with carefree abandon. This is yet another incarnation of a standard argument put forward in favor of the status quo on virtually every environmental and pollution issue that has come up for decades.


True, but technological counter-measures are still a good idea. If we were to instantly unplug from fossil fuels, that action would destroy the world economy. That's where technological counter-measures come into play, as they will help to provide a smooth bridge to an alternative energy economy that will gradually overtake our current fossil-fuel based economy.

As much as those on the right bash eco-Nazis for arguing in favor of stricter emission regulations and energy conservation in addition to technological innovation, it seems like a dimwitted self defeatist argument, as the alternative is to continue subsidizing Islamo-Nazis in the middle east by buying their oil. At bare minimum, you'd think those climate-change deniers on the right would want energy independence, whose side effect just might be a reduction or postponement of global warming.
Nephrite
QUOTE

More bullshit demagoguery…. Your subsequent use of "both sides of any issue" and "fair and balanced" outs you. BBC my ass. The latter is a Fox News trademark. It's only "fair and balanced". It's also freeze-dried bullshit.


I'm a registered Independent for the record. I don't think I'm appealing to the popular prejudices, fears and expectations to gain popularity here… in fact I seem to be having the opposite affect… without throwing words around like "shit".

Did I not mention that my information sources are varied? Which ones do you recommend? There are some people who perceive the BBC as more than FOX news trademark.

QUOTE
THE BBC is institutionally biased, an official report will conclude this week. The year-long investigation, commissioned by the BBC, has found the corporation particularly partial in its treatment of single-issue politics such as climate change, poverty, race and religion.


http://engram-backtalk.blogspot.com/2007/0…ts-liberal.html

Google is your friend!
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=b…amp;btnG=Search

I suppose we should start getting some of our news here?
http://www.yourish.com/2006/10/24/2180
hobgoblin
QUOTE(Donnie Darko @ Jan 27 2008, 06:44 PM) *

What is an eco-Nazi? …

If Hob's source on the matter is just some pot smoking unhygienic Greenpeace activist and not a climatologist, then the claims are probably alarmist, ill-informed and exaggerated, but the old Rush Limbaugh "eco-Nazi" label only serves as a meaningless propagandistic rallying tool, just the sort of language tool that is favored by totalitarians like the Nazis, incidentally.


I do not know any pot-smoking unhygenic eco-warrior activists.

My information comes from the work of the likes of Professor Louis Fortier from Arcticnet, although no doubt Oxygenee would consider Arcticnet a bunch of eco-nazis http://www.arcticnet-ulaval.ca/index.php?f…t.showArcticNet.

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