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Old 08-14-2010, 07:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Eaarth


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"Read it, please. Straight through to the end. Whatever else you were planning to do next, nothing could be more important." —Barbara Kingsolver
I agree. Please read "Eaarth". Check it out from your local library, or buy it and pass it along to someone.

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Old 08-14-2010, 08:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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...pardon the cynicism, but is this just another "...sky is falling..." book?

...however, I must admit the author (I Google'd him) at least is not an ex-vice (pun intended) president, which lends lots more credibility to him.
 
Old 08-14-2010, 11:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for the endorsement.

I would have thought that the aauthor might have been Aal Gore.
 
Old 08-15-2010, 03:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Tomgram: Bill McKibben, A Wilted Senate on a Heating Planet | TomDispatch

Phytoplankton Population Drops 40 Percent Since 1950: Scientific American
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Old 08-16-2010, 06:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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And today one of the main tenets of AGW is under challenge - not for the first time.

New paper makes a hockey sticky wicket of Mann et al 98/99/08 | Watts Up With That?
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Old 08-16-2010, 11:11 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Questions are good, but a couple of papers do not change the accepted science.

The tropics are now over 2 degrees bigger both in the north and the south than they were in 1950.

Glacier National Park is down to 25 quickly melting glaciers -- it used to have 150.

The ocean pH used to be 8.2 and it is now 8.1 -- shellfish and corral are not going to make it much longer. Some carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean and this drops the pH.

Plankton are down 40% from 1950 -- this is the very base of the food chain in the ocean.

The northwest and the northeast passages are open through the Arctic for the first time in human history.

Evaporation is 5% higher than it used to be, and this is making rainstorms much more intense, and droughts are now the norm in many places (Australia for instance).

The temperatures went above 100F for the first time in the 130 years recorded in Moscow -- they hit 111F. The land is on fire, literally.

Lightening is increased, and the strikes are lighting many, many more fires. The Arctic tundra burned for the first time we have ever known.

There are a least two island nations that are planning to *move* *everybody* because they are getting flooded out by the rising sea level.

Disease is spreading out -- West Nile virus, malaria, Dengue fever, etc. are all spreading well beyond their "traditional" ranges.

Methane is escaping the underground where it has been frozen for millennia; under the tundra, bogs, and lakes.

Much/Most of the boreal forests of the northern hemisphere (about 1/3 of the land plants?) are dead -- as far as the eye can see, there are only dead trees. Pine bark beetles are not getting frozen and killed off, so they are running rampant.

Right now, about 1/5th of the entire country of Pakistan is under water -- they got ~10 months worth of rain in TWO DAYS! And it is raining again...

GCC is real, and it largely caused by humans burning a few million years worth of carbon fuel in ~150 years. If you want to join the scientific debate, fine.

But if you simply do not want to believe that the scientists are correct -- then you need to decide why you don't also disbelieve the theory of gravity, or atomic structure, relativity, plate tectonics, etc. The scientific process is the same for all of these. They are all based on the data, and they are all the accepted scientific theory. If one of 'em is wrong, then they all are wrong.
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
Questions are good, but a couple of papers do not change the accepted science... (etc.)
Gee, Neil, that was quite a speech!

I really miss AalGore. It's such a shame that since his domestic scandals erupted we have heard comparatively less from the formerly relentless drumbeat of the global warming campaign.

Maybe you aspire to fill his shoes?
 
Old 08-17-2010, 07:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
Questions are good, but a couple of papers do not change the accepted science
....
GCC is real, and it largely caused by humans burning a few million years worth of carbon fuel in ~150 years. If you want to join the scientific debate, fine.
Sorry Neil and I don't want to start an argument but those of us who are neither believers or skeptics find this kind of language from one side or the other very closed and not open to any kind of debate.

There IS a debate to be had here, the science is not settled - I refuse to believe Monbiot, someone who compares people who do not have his beliefs to Holocaust deniers - jeesh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
But if you simply do not want to believe that the scientists are correct -- then you need to decide why you don't also disbelieve the theory of gravity, or atomic structure, relativity, plate tectonics, etc. The scientific process is the same for all of these. They are all based on the data, and they are all the accepted scientific theory.
Gravity - things fall to the ground, planets orbit suns, moons orbit planets - all in a way that proves the theory. You predict it with the theory and confirm it with real observations.

Atomic Structure - Torness power station is just 25 miles from where I sit. It seems like a big investment in a unproven theory.

Relativity - Some observations have proven aspects of it such as quasars and background radiation, but it is still a theory so far and someone may come up with another explanation which also fits. Still a theory.

Plate Tectonics - I find earthquakes and volcanos pretty convincing. Faults are examined and watched to predict quakes all over the world.

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Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
If one of 'em is wrong, then they all are wrong.
Sorry, no.

AGW does not come close to those theories and should not be linked. For AGW to be proven the scientists have to prove 3 things

1. We are living in a period of warming not seen before
2. That warming is caused by greenhouse gasses
3. The gasses we contribute are accelerating the effect

The problem is that after 35 years of this theory being around and all the research associated with it even part 1 of this theory has no convincing evidence. The paper I linked to (and there have been quite a few others) suggests that both the data used and the methods offer little in the way of proof.

For those not reading it, basically they analysed the methods used in temperature reconstruction going back to 1000AD. It is this research that allows headlines like the temperatures now are higher than history. It also produced the famous (or should that be infamous) Hockey Stick.

It turns out that the data can be seen as flawed - some proxies are unreliable due to external factors not temp related or local environmental conditions and disturbances. On top of this the methods used to analyse the data are also questionable. They are not standard methods used in the science of statistics, and the environmental scientists using them are not experts in those methods anyway.

The most damning conclusion was that if the researchers used random red-noise through the model it came close to replicating the actual results. Random data !

As I tapped above I'm not a skeptic or a believer but there is still need for an open debate. The emails leaked from CRU seem to suggest that the scientists don't want that debate, the reasoning seems unclear. You also seem to think the debate on that aspect is closed. Not for me I'm afraid.

I have a kid and I want the world to be livable when he's grown up. I'm willing to do what I can to conserve resources, recycle when I can and polute as little as possible but AGW still remains unconvincing to me.

Sorry - that was longer than I intended.
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Old 08-17-2010, 11:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I seriously doubt we're going to tip the planet into a Venusian greenhouse scenario where higher temperatures lead to even higher temperatures. But if we did, neither localvorism nor carbon-neutral living would save you.

Hopefully, Antarctica and Siberia would remain habitable. The survivors would be well advised to build up international trade to support a massive industrial and research base. The goal would be to engineer crops and cities that would allow us to reclaim the formerly temperate zones and tropics despite the heat, or terraforming methods to bring global temperatures down. I see nothing to recommend local economies in this or any other scenario.

But that's all science fiction.

Climate change might bring about an overall decline in the planet's ability to support human crops. People in wealthy countries will hardly notice. The price of food on the international market will rise, and most people will eat more grain and less meat, perhaps without noticing it.

In response to a poor harvest this year, Russia has barred the export of grain, causing a fall in the local price of wheat and a rise in the world price. Also recall the controversy over Japan refusing to open its strategic rice reserves during the Burmese typhoon a few years back. Good for them, promoting localvorism. I fully expect American, European, and powerful Asian governments to be similarly able and willing to look after their own, at the expense of the world's poor.

But perhaps continued innovation will allow agricultural production to continue to exceed the needs of the world's population despite a reduction in available arable land. Perhaps more heat-tolerant crops may be required. Or perhaps global warming will increase rainfall, which would be nice.

@Arragonis: It doesn't matter whether humans have already caused detectable global warming. There's very little debate that the GHG's that we are releasing in unprecedented quantities will cause climate change if they haven't yet. Regardless of whether it has happened or will someday happen, our response should be the same: reduce GHG emissions when we can.

Most of our GHG emissions are from burning coal and petroleum. Just look at our collective fuel logs to see how easily we could reduce our consumption of petroleum if that were made a priority. Likewise, with a little intelligent legislation (carbon tax, renewable energy mandates), we'd see a dramatic decrease in our dependence on coal as an energy source.

I'm not 100% certain reducing GHG emissions would help us leave a more habitable planet. But with as easy as it is to do, and as helpful to our descendants as it might be, I say we should at least leave the coal in the ground and stop driving unaerodynamic bricks around.
 
Old 08-17-2010, 11:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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...a skeptic is not the same as a heretic, although a rather common "religious" thread often seems to exist.

 
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