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 Post subject: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:02 pm 
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I won't pretend to tell you what the truth is I am no expert, I do have an analytical mind and have no problem questioning the motivation of the current trends. Anyway it is about time we had a stirring of the pot.

Another flair up in the global warming debate allegations of Junk science on both sides of the argument, quotes found in old emails and letters to create a false panic within the masses to get them to do something about the perceived relationship to the industrial world and global climate changes. The claim that the quotes are out of context, and it goes on and on.

My son decided to write a paper on alternate theories to global warming other than man made or accelerated warming due to activities of man. Interestingly enough there were many viable and logical alternate reason for global warming they don't seem to be getting the big bucks of the popular mainstream thoughts because they don't vilify humanity and basically state that nature is the architect of global heating and cooling cycles and that man has little or no impact on global temperatures and the loss of Ice packs and glaciers.

Don't get me wrong we have plenty of impact on our environment we have been the direct cause of pollution in our local areas, the extinction of a significant number of animal and plant species, we have introduced critters and plants to places where they have no natural predators and the populations have exploded pushing out native and changing the balance. But when it comes to global changes to temps the efforts we make are inconsequential and barley measurable when you compare the last few hundred years of scientific measurements against the history of climate changes we are far from being in the warmest time in the history of the world, the most recent mini ice age was considered to have happened as recently as medieval times, and in geological time the northern hemisphere was completely clocked in ice below the 45th parallel only moments ago and we are still in the warming trend from the end of that most recent cooling period.

The truth of global warming has more to do with the orbit of the earth around the sun, the wobble and tilt of the earth, movement of the tectonic plates and the variations of the Suns activity than the efforts we pitiful few humans could ever expect to exert against the atmosphere.

I am not saying that we don't need to be better at taking care of our natural resources but lets be truthful about why we need to stop deforestation of the worlds forests and clean up our industrial waste live more cleanly and take care of our fellow man. The earth will continue its cycles and before long it will have another ICE AGE man will have to deal with it and some will claim the new ICE AGE was started by too many hydrogen powered cars or some other nonsense.


Anyway feel free to look up some articles on alternate reasons for global warming, challenge the popular view, see if there isn't something that makes more sense.

Here is one to get you started: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html

Another jumping off point, Polar Ice Caps - Polar Ice Caps And Geologic History

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 1:59 pm 
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I read your entire post; do me a favour and read mine. It's a long one :)

ScottHadl wrote:
But when it comes to global changes to temps the efforts we make are inconsequential and barley measurable when you compare the last few hundred years of scientific measurements against the history of climate changes we are far from being in the warmest time in the history of the world,


The problem here, as with all scientific theories that become politically heated, is that you and I are not truly experts in the field. We can read on wikipedia; we can follow the press releases from different agencies; we can watch the news. But we have not been in the trenches doing hard literature research and analyzing real data. We're not experts on the climate. (If you want to talk evolution on the other hand, I can throw in some real science there, but... that's a different politically charged but scientific issue).

What I can do is use an analogy and point to the obvious; we have transformed most of the surface of the planet. You need only look at images of the world from space to see the evidence of us as clear as day. The atmosphere is just a thin layer of gas molecules surrounding this globe, the surface of which we have very obviously transformed. I'm not sure why it is intuitively difficult for people to accept that we might be altering the atmosphere as well; it is not an infinite container full of magic gas that maintains its temperature and composition. It has changed a lot during the history of the earth (it used to be nothing but poisonous carbon compounds, until plant-like life came along and *transformed it* by eating carbon and expelling oxygen - the same plant life we're now burning en masse as "oil" to return that carbon to the atmosphere). It is still changing; living things are one of the things that changes it.. And we might be part of that change (just like the plant life millions of years ago).

The changes we have introduced to the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere are pretty much indisputable; I don't remember the precise figures but real recorded observations, from Hawaii I believe, have shown it rising very dramatically over the last hundred years or so. The temperature trends, on the other hand, seem to be there, but they are complicated by overlapping natural phenomena; for example right now we're at a solar output minimum in a 7 (or maybe it was 11?) year solar cycle, so we have less northern lights in the sky (low sunspot activity) and cooler weather than, say 3 years ago. And there are a lot of different geographical and climatic areas of the earth that are impacted in different ways by (putative) man-made climate change and natural cycles - the north (where ice is indisputably disappearing), the oceans (which have complex currents and thermal cycles), the air in different regions, etc. Sorting out all of the data is difficult. But it's not an either/or thing. This is not a football game where one team wins and the other loses, and the truth is almost certainly a combination of factors - not *just* natural and not *just* man-made. (Actually we are sort of a natural force; we arose on the earth, and we are animals, and we are part of its ecology.... so in reality everything going on is "natural" ;)).

It is very clear to see that people on both sides of the *political* debate may have interests, financial or egotistical, in the outcome. Unfortunately the political debate and the scientific debate are very different things. Most people (including even myself, and I have a PhD in a hard science with a lot of mathematics) are barely equipped to try to make sense of the complex and sometimes contradictory science behind it. So we're easily manipulated by interest groups, and we tend to latch onto our side and cheer for it come hell or high water (like football fans). That's not very intelligent, but it's what people do. And this is why political debates are so aggravating; they're decoupled from a genuine interest in knowing what's going on, they're emotional, and everybody involved in stubborn and unwavering.

Though this has no bearing on the scientific issue, it does impact the political one, so I will ask: who loses more money if they lose their political climate-change battles, and who has the most money to promote their agendas: the oil giants and the industrialists / tycoons, or the hippie professors? Of course the oil giants spin it as "climate change hippies trying to make billions off Carbon Trading and Tax!!!%!$^%!$!% and they'll take yer jarbs too!" but... the oil giants can't exactly be trusted to promote an honest view of the situation. I don't think anybody is going to make nearly as much money with weird climate change schemes as the oil & manufacturing industries are making right now.

There is one last point; scientists by definition can't make hard, absolute assertions. They can only say "it seems like this might be happening". Politicians, on the other hand, are a different breed. So when politicians square off against scientists, the poliicians often appear to have the firmer position. Because a basic tenet of science is that you never know "for sure". So you use a lot of language like "probably", or "models predict", rather than "is" and "unquestionably".

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 3:52 pm 
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Thanks for the reply Walter, and to tell you the truth your statement is aligned well with my personal understanding of the matter.

I would agree that big oil has a huge amount of money to spend on their agenda to continue down our current path. But I find government has a huge investment to run down the opposite path. Personally I am not a fan of Big oil any more than I am a fan of the environmental side for a lack of a better word on my part.

What I have found is that all governments don't seem to be above the wag the dog method of gaining support for their agendas and recent quotes from inside the environmental groups don't confirm that assumption but certainly give me a moments pause. Out of context or not they are power statements.

I agree man has transformed the earth and in many negative ways. I would reflect back on the deforestation caused by natural events fire, volcanic activity, drought, cold and heat, and the environment has a way of bouncing back and changed in the process new animals and plant fill the void where one is lost there is a natural progression.

You did mention the burning of carbon fuels, and even with that recent articles suggest that our atmosphere has less free carbon than past periods of time as measured by ice core samples from around the world.

I guess my point is I am more neutral on the subject than I was in the past because I am tiered of being manipulated by the cheerleaders on both sides.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:17 pm 
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ScottHadl wrote:
and recent quotes from inside the environmental groups don't confirm that assumption but certainly give me a moments pause. Out of context or not they are power statements.


These leaked emails are just as twisted up by political motives as anything else out there. I don't even know what the email content was, I've just seen interpretations of them in the media (do you have a link? I'm curious). The bigger issue is that a couple of emails from some people affiliated with one institution is scarecely damning evidence against a mountain of research from dozens of institutions around the world. I get the feeling this was just taken from some mailing list anyway, probably just scoured off usenet and then blown out of proportion by the people with a denial agenda.

With enough time you could find emails from experts that could be spun as damning evidence against anything, from gravity to evolution to nuclear fission. You should see some of the shit I said about my own thesis research, and it's not bad science. Same with joking about manipulating data, or using words like that in a different context (e.g. I can say "manipulated the data to show XYZ" when I mean "turned it from a time series into a histogram", which is a valid "manipulation").

Quote:
You did mention the burning of carbon fuels, and even with that recent articles suggest that our atmosphere has less free carbon than past periods of time as measured by ice core samples from around the world.


Yeah, the carbon was sequestered into the ground by plants over millions or billions of years, and now we're burning it and releasing it. That part of the picture doesn't require any sophisticated training in climatology to understand. Plants put stuff in ground over a long period of time; we release it by burning it in a short period. Pretty simple. That carbon doesn't disappear; it goes into the air.

Real measurements (and proxy data) both show that it increased enormously and indisputably during and after the industrial revolution.


Quote:
I guess my point is I am more neutral on the subject than I was in the past because I am tiered of being manipulated by the cheerleaders on both sides.


Any time there's a political element to some scientific theory you're going to get manipulation from both sides. Annoying but true.

Frankly I've completely stopped caring about it because I've come to the conclusion that half the people weighing in are too stupid to find their own feet, and the rest are too embroiled in the sports-fan model of politics to act rationally. And this is on both sides of the debate, incidentally. Ultimately nature'll take care of us, one way or the other. Human society is too complex and we're under this illusion that we're controlling our destiny, but it's bullsh*t. A combination of mass action and a bit of nudging by a handful of extremely rich people who hold most of the social, economic and political capital, are conspiring together to guide our destiny. Our online bickering and editorializing has little to contribute to it.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:11 am 
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All I know is I started out completely believing in the climate change stuff, then I read State of Fear and now I'm not so sure what to believe... But I still do my part in trying to use less and waste less...

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:20 am 
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to the point:

Man made global warming is the biggest scientific hoax I will see during my lifetime.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:00 am 
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eastsider wrote:
to the point:

Man made global warming is the biggest scientific hoax I will see during my lifetime.


The atmosphere around the planet is small compared to the earth. You can see in this picture that it's just a thin shell of gas:

Image

Billions of years ago it was completely poisonous to human life; methane and carbon dioxide, ammonia, cyanide, etc.

Plant-like life appeared in the oceans and started taking up the carbon as food, while excreting oxygen as waste. Over billions of years this happened until we got to today; nitrogen, oxygen, and a tiny bit of CO2.

We used to burn wood. Then we discovered coal, and oil, and all this awesome energy really made us prosper. There's no denying that; it's improved our quality of life enormously. I love the shit. The smell of gasoline, the heat of it burning, the power of a huge diesel engine in a locomotive or a ship; absolutely awesome.

Oil is an energy rich form of the carbon from the atmosphere that was taken up by plants and plant-like organisms over many years, millions of years ago. Lots and lots and lots of carbon dioxide was taken up to make smaller deposits of oil; the oil is a much more concentrated form of carbon than carbon dioxide. On a chemical level this means the carbons are connected into chains; plants did this by taking up the energy from the sun and the CO2 from the air and converting it into plant parts, which eventually died and ended up in big deposits. This oil is basically sunlight energy, stored in the form of carbon chains (oils; hydrocarbons).

Since we really need energy for our society to function, we're madly burning up as much of this stuff as we can. And on a chemical level that means we break the chains of carbon to release the energy stored in them, and release the single carbon atoms into the air. That means all of this CO2 that took millions of years to be taken up by plants and piled up in deposits that eventually got buried under rocks is suddenly being released, by us, into the atmosphere. And for all the oil we burn we're dramatically adding to the CO2 in the atmosphere. Remember that you can fill a closed-up room with enough carbon dioxide and monoxide to kill you just by keeping a small campstove burning for awhile; a campstove with only a half cup of gasoline or so. All that concentrated carbon makes a big impact on your air, and that's just a small stove in your bedroom. Imagine a factory like this:

Image

Now imagine thousands of them. And thousands of cities with billions of people driving cars and heating homes. Enough to make the surface of the earth change enough that you can see it from space... particularly agriculture which is pretty oil intensive, but also cities and lights.

That's a lot of carbon dioxide going into the air.

Now we have a lot of debate about what this might be doing, but it's clear that we *are* changing the atmosphere. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand how this works. The earth's atmosphere is the air in your bedroom; the oil reserves are a campstove. You can look at the tiny campstove and use your common senes to realize that there's no way those teaspoons of liquid are going to damage the air in your room. And then you can turn it on and find out that chemistry trumps common sense when you increase the carbon monoxide content to the point that you can't live in the room anymore.

Of course this is far from being any kind of logical argument that the CO2 causes climate change; that's a different issue. I'm just trying to drive home the fact that burning oil puts a *LOT* of gas into the atmosphere, because when you're just out walking around it seems like the sky is limitless. But it's not. And more importantly; all that oil originally came *out* of the atmosphere. And now it's being pumped back in. What's that going to do? We really should try to figure that out, don't you think?

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Last edited by walter23 on Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:19 am 
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I looked and looked and looked for some quotes by this guy I heard on the radio, who of course I couldn't remember his name or his book (it was late at night...:::sigh:::) But this quote sums up his points about climate change / global warming / whatever we're calling it nowadays.

"Rounded off, the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere is 0.038% All of the carbon emissions from human beings since the beginning of the industrial revolution, even if not gradually removed by natural processes would STILL not move the percentage by a noticeable amount. The total mass of the atmosphere is over 5 quadrillion metric tons (that's 5,000,000,000,000,000 TONS!) .038 % of that number is 1,900,000,000,000 TONS (1.9 trillion tons). As you can see, human emissions are barely noticeable when talking about percentage."

I'm all for planting trees, reducing waste (though not necessarily all forms of recycling - go watch Pen & Tellers episode of "Bullshit" on recycling...), keeping our oceans clean, and all that stuff. Really truly. But I just find it hard to believe that we're causing climate change. Even when volcanoes spew out massive amounts of nasty stuff in the environment, far more then we put out, it's all cleared up in a few weeks. All through school (university) we learned about how the earth has gone through drastic changes for millennia - long before people were around to cause it. And now that we're here the earth is still gonna change.

Oh, and in other news, did you hear the news about how there was a traffic jam of limos the other day over in [H]openhagen? How's that for fuel economy and preventing emissions. (if I see that commercial one more time, i'm gonna gag...)

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:26 am 
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EyesLifted wrote:
"Rounded off, the percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere is 0.038% All of the carbon emissions from human beings since the beginning of the industrial revolution, even if not gradually removed by natural processes would STILL not move the percentage by a noticeable amount. The total mass of the atmosphere is over 5 quadrillion metric tons (that's 5,000,000,000,000,000 TONS!) .038 % of that number is 1,900,000,000,000 TONS (1.9 trillion tons). As you can see, human emissions are barely noticeable when talking about percentage."


What you've just said is not true.

CO2 in the atmosphere recorded at Mauna Loa. This is a 25% increase in atmospheric CO2 since 1960; yeah, 1/4 more CO2 than in 1960. This is direct measurement, not proxy data:
Image

In the NWT (note only goes back to 1985, why it doesn't rise as much as the Hawaiian measurements):
Image

Alaska (from 1974 on):
Image

La Jolla since 1969:
Image

Baja since 1997:
Image

Samoa:
Image

Kermadec, wherever that is:
Image

South pole:
Image

And many more all showing the same thing. That's kind of the opposite of what you asserted.

25% increase since 1960. That's alarming.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:41 am 
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Thanks for sharing real data. That means a lot.

Now what I've *heard* (and admittedly not had time to research myself) is that while there's been a 25% increase in amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, it's still only .03% of the atmosphere. So, in essence, it's a 25% increase of a thimble full of co2. I hope I've conveyed that correctly.

For a crude analogy: It'd be like saying that one person holds $1, out of 30 billion dollars. Over time he earns 25% interest on that dollar. But in the grand scheme of things, it's still only $1.25 out of 30 billion dollars.

If that is the case, couldn't it be argued that the impact of that percentage rise is negligible due to the sheer minuteness of CO2's total percentage in the atmosphere?

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:49 am 
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EyesLifted wrote:
Thanks for sharing real data. That means a lot.

Now what I've *heard* (and admittedly not had time to research myself) is that while there's been a 25% increase in amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, it's still only .03% of the atmosphere. So, in essence, it's a 25% increase of a thimble full of co2. I hope I've conveyed that correctly.

For a crude analogy: It'd be like saying that one person holds $1, out of 30 billion dollars. Over time he earns 25% interest on that dollar. But in the grand scheme of things, it's still only $1.25 out of 30 billion dollars.

If that is the case, couldn't it be argued that the impact of that percentage rise is negligible due to the sheer minuteness of CO2's total percentage in the atmosphere?


The absolute numbers are small (so are viruses, and so is the amount of cyanide required to kill you). A small absolute number doesn't mean much without knowing what that number means. Do you know what 25% more CO2 means though? What about 100% more? Sure it's only a tiny bit more, but a tiny bit more cyanide and you're dead. 0.005% HIV viruses in my blood and I'm f**k'n hooped.

My point is not that CO2 is cyanide or HIV viruses. My point is that a tiny number means nothing without context.

Your money analogy doesn't make any sense because there is no 'other' atmosphere with "30 billion dollars in it" to compare our 1 dollar and a quarter to.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:35 am 
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I lived through the last "Climate Change" disaster. According to "all" the leading scientist of the 60's/70's in 30 years ( so 2006) the next ice age would eliminate Canada and force people to live no higher than Tennessee. If the great lakes were never so low why is there an underwater forest with 50 foot trees under 150 feet of water in Lake Michigan? Which brings up another question. What ever happened with the Ozone will be depleted by the year 2000 all of South America will be dying from cancer? If there never had Global warming before where are the glaciers from the past ice age? Anyway I'm a skeptic and after the email hack a bordering cynic. I've seen too many "scientist" crying wolf or exagerating to pass or advance their own agenda or lets face it scientist live on grants. "If you want my money prove this however you can or no $$$$", is what dances through my mind. Good subject to debate but I think the lines are drawn in the side...for and against and to sway ones opinion will be difficult.

With that said I believe that pollution is bad and if we have viable alternatives...go for it.

AH..late for work gotta go. This is about the extent of my two cents worth.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:16 pm 
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eastsider wrote:
I lived through the last "Climate Change" disaster. According to "all" the leading scientist of the 60's/70's in 30 years ( so 2006) the next ice age would eliminate Canada and force people to live no higher than Tennessee.


#1. You might be confusing "nuclear winter" cold war paranoia with climate change. Everybody was afraid that stuff kicked up by nuclear war would shroud the planet in clouds and freeze us to death.
#2. WE DON'T YET KNOW WHAT ALL THIS EXTRA CO2 IS GOING TO DO. If scientists thought maybe we'd have a cooling effect 30 years ago... well, maybe the data since then has changed that picture. 30 years is a lot of research. Science is not absolute - it's always changing, until a satisfactory answer is found. People untrained in science see that as "wavering", and yes - absolutely. That's the point. Believe the best answer you can until you see something that blows it out of the water and changes the picture.

Quote:
If the great lakes were never so low why is there an underwater forest with 50 foot trees under 150 feet of water in Lake Michigan?


I don't know that historical water levels in the great lakes are a big part of the climate change argument. What are these trees, anyway? Petrified trees?

Quote:
Which brings up another question. What ever happened with the Ozone will be depleted by the year 2000 all of South America will be dying from cancer?


There is still a hole in the ozone over the southern hemisphere.

Quote:
If there never had Global warming before where are the glaciers from the past ice age?


The climate has changed a *lot* during the history of the earth. It's been extremely hot, extremely cold, etc. Lots of different things cause these changes; sometimes plants, sometimes the sun, sometimes meteors or asteroids kicking up dust or volcanos spewing stuff into the air.

No scientist ever says the world is static! These arguments about past ice ages and swampy dinosaur forests and stuff don't change anything. Of course the climate changes, has changed, and will change. Everybody knows that. The thing we're trying to figure out is: is it changing now? Is it the result of all this extra CO2 that we *are* releasing? Why? How fast? And if it's changing too fast, will we all starve to death when our agriculture fails?

Look, I agree that we're living in a media-fueled culture of panic. That's why I don't give a shit about climate change anymore. The issue is too big for me to change it. I'm sick of worrying about terrorist boogeymen, swine flus, financial collapses, climate disasters, asteroids from space, Big Bad George Bush and American Neo-Fascism, Obama the Antichrist, Lung Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Diabetes, Meningitis, Heart Disease, and everything else. It's just really tiring to worry about everything all of the time. So I'm crawling back into my hole to let the world unfold as it will. It's just that sometimes I just can't stand watching the politicalization of a scientific problem; it's aggravating to watch.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:25 pm 
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EyesLifted wrote:
Thanks for sharing real data. That means a lot.

Now what I've *heard* (and admittedly not had time to research myself) is that while there's been a 25% increase in amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, it's still only .03% of the atmosphere. So, in essence, it's a 25% increase of a thimble full of co2. I hope I've conveyed that correctly.

For a crude analogy: It'd be like saying that one person holds $1, out of 30 billion dollars. Over time he earns 25% interest on that dollar. But in the grand scheme of things, it's still only $1.25 out of 30 billion dollars.

If that is the case, couldn't it be argued that the impact of that percentage rise is negligible due to the sheer minuteness of CO2's total percentage in the atmosphere?


Here's some more perspective. To illustrate the falacy of thinking a small number is meaningless, this is a table of the effects of carbon *MONOXIDE* concentrations in different amounts (sorry I lifted it from wikipedia, but it's valid data):

35 ppm (0.0035%) Headache and dizziness within six to eight hours of constant exposure
100 ppm (0.01%) Slight headache in two to three hours
200 ppm (0.02%) Slight headache within two to three hours; loss of judgment
400 ppm (0.04%) Frontal headache within one to two hours
800 ppm (0.08%) Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 min; insensible within 2 hours
1,600 ppm (0.16%) Headache, tachycardia, dizziness, and nausea within 20 min; death in less than 2 hours
3,200 ppm (0.32%) Headache, dizziness and nausea in five to ten minutes. Death within 30 minutes.
6,400 ppm (0.64%) Headache and dizziness in one to two minutes. Convulsions, respiratory arrest, and death in less than 20 minutes.
12,800 ppm (1.28%) Unconsciousness after 2-3 breaths. Death in less than three minutes.

Now CO2 is a *different thing*. I don't know what effect 25% more CO2 in the atmosphere will have. But as you can see, small concentrations of things (like CO, in the table there) can have big effects. A number that looks tiny is meaningless in the world of science until you know what those tiny numbers *do*.

This is just an analogy. I'm not saying CO2 is toxic in the same way that CO is. Just showing the error in thinking about small numbers as "meaningless".

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:23 pm 
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walter23 wrote:
eastsider wrote:

It's just that sometimes I just can't stand watching the politicalization of a scientific problem; it's aggravating to watch.


This is the most tragic part

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:37 pm 
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eastsider wrote:
walter23 wrote:
eastsider wrote:

It's just that sometimes I just can't stand watching the politicalization of a scientific problem; it's aggravating to watch.


This is the most tragic part


Yeah. I agree completely. You and I have both picked sides, based on what we can understand of the problem, and that would be totally cool if we were just having a friendly debate in a pub somewhere. But instead we're voting for people and shaping policy based on our prejudices (not pointing at you, I include myself here, I'm not a climate expert) because this important scientific problem has political ramifications.

If the hypothesis of man-made climate change is true, we should probably figure it out and do something about it. If not, we shouldn't waste all our resources trying to fight it. The problem is figuring out which one it is. And that problem becomes so muddied up by all these political battles that it becomes a quagmire of superstition, distrust, competing agendas, blah blah blah. It's depressing.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:43 pm 
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I totally agree with you here Walter.

If the hypothesis of man-made climate change is true, we should probably figure it out and do something about it. If not, we shouldn't waste all our resources trying to fight it. The problem is figuring out which one it is. And that problem becomes so muddied up by all these political battles that it becomes a quagmire of superstition, distrust, competing agendas, blah blah blah. It's depressing.


walter23 wrote:
EyesLifted wrote:
Thanks for sharing real data. That means a lot.

Now what I've *heard* (and admittedly not had time to research myself) is that while there's been a 25% increase in amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, it's still only .03% of the atmosphere. So, in essence, it's a 25% increase of a thimble full of co2. I hope I've conveyed that correctly.

For a crude analogy: It'd be like saying that one person holds $1, out of 30 billion dollars. Over time he earns 25% interest on that dollar. But in the grand scheme of things, it's still only $1.25 out of 30 billion dollars.

If that is the case, couldn't it be argued that the impact of that percentage rise is negligible due to the sheer minuteness of CO2's total percentage in the atmosphere?


Here's some more perspective. To illustrate the falacy of thinking a small number is meaningless, this is a table of the effects of carbon *MONOXIDE* concentrations in different amounts (sorry I lifted it from wikipedia, but it's valid data):

35 ppm (0.0035%) Headache and dizziness within six to eight hours of constant exposure
100 ppm (0.01%) Slight headache in two to three hours
200 ppm (0.02%) Slight headache within two to three hours; loss of judgment
400 ppm (0.04%) Frontal headache within one to two hours
800 ppm (0.08%) Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 min; insensible within 2 hours
1,600 ppm (0.16%) Headache, tachycardia, dizziness, and nausea within 20 min; death in less than 2 hours
3,200 ppm (0.32%) Headache, dizziness and nausea in five to ten minutes. Death within 30 minutes.
6,400 ppm (0.64%) Headache and dizziness in one to two minutes. Convulsions, respiratory arrest, and death in less than 20 minutes.
12,800 ppm (1.28%) Unconsciousness after 2-3 breaths. Death in less than three minutes.

Now CO2 is a *different thing*. I don't know what effect 25% more CO2 in the atmosphere will have. But as you can see, small concentrations of things (like CO, in the table there) can have big effects. A number that looks tiny is meaningless in the world of science until you know what those tiny numbers *do*.

This is just an analogy. I'm not saying CO2 is toxic in the same way that CO is. Just showing the error in thinking about small numbers as "meaningless".



And this is where some of the crackpot ideas for lowering atmospheric temperatures comes in. One idea is to paint all roof surfaces white to reflect back extra heat from the sun. I can't find the quote from the quack that came up with that one but come on how much total area would all the roof tops in the world really cover and what would be the effect on the atmosphere.

Also your own numbers can be used to prove the opposite point. very small amount of carbon monoxide have no noticeable affect on a person so you could say at what point does Co2 really start to warm the atmosphere. At this point nobody really knows it is only speculation and theory now but the harbingers of doom are jumping on these one point like it is the answer to Global climate change.

Some of the quotes were included in the article I linked to at the top of the post. I haven't had much luck finding the hacked emails, there seems to be a good cover up going on. or more likely I haven't tried hard enough to find them.

The 70's were an interesting time, the US had massive shortages of water and we were asked to only water on odd or even days once a week and to limit showers. There were oil shortage (supply shortages) and lots of talk of nuclear winter.

One of the quotes in the linked article actually thinks that global warming is a good thing and that if we can really affect the atmosphere and prolong this warming period we would be better off. plant life really benefits from longer summers and more co2, in theory we should be able to produce more food for the planet and off set our carbon output as the captured carbon in the plants are stored in the ground.

The most telling quote of the day science has changed a lot from the 70s to today. I can only imagine how much science will change in the next 30 years. What will we be saying about these same topics when and if they fall out of favor for another impending crisis.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:54 pm 
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ScottHadl wrote:
Also your own numbers can be used to prove the opposite point. very small amount of carbon monoxide have no noticeable affect on a person so you could say at what point does Co2 really start to warm the atmosphere.


Right. We don't know. But pointing to small numbers is meaningless without knowing what those numbers are. The percentage of *change* is probably more interesting, and that percentage is pretty big over the last few decades. There's 25% more CO2 since 1960. That could be a huge problem. Or maybe not. We just don't know. But you can't draw analogies and say "it's a small value so it's meaningless". That was my point with the CO comparison (and virus comparison, and cyanide comparison). Erin said it was a "small value so it didn't matter" and as a scientist that offends me. A small amount of cyanide is a big deal for your body.

Quote:
Some of the quotes were included in the article I linked to at the top of the post. I haven't had much luck finding the hacked emails, there seems to be a good cover up going on. or more likely I haven't tried hard enough to find them.


Cover-up? Or media hype over someting relatively meaningless? An elaborate cover-up conspiracy doesn't hold any water, because if something is leaked to the internet it's pretty much there for good. There's no massive climate change conspiracy, just like there's no massive illuminati conspiracy to control our minds and force us to buy lulu lemon clothes or Hershey bars. All I have seen are second hand accounts saying "these leaked emails call into question the honesty of climate change scientists!" That's a meaningless phrase, and very leading.

Quote:
One of the quotes in the linked article actually thinks that global warming is a good thing and that if we can really affect the atmosphere and prolong this warming period we would be better off. plant life really benefits from longer summers and more co2, in theory we should be able to produce more food for the planet and off set our carbon output as the captured carbon in the plants are stored in the ground.


The problem with this theory is that agricultural plants sink less carbon than the forests and brushland typically cleared to make way for them.

Quote:
The most telling quote of the day science has changed a lot from the 70s to today. I can only imagine how much science will change in the next 30 years. What will we be saying about these same topics when and if they fall out of favor for another impending crisis.


One theme that keeps coming up is how we're all F***ING SICK of hearing about doom and gloom in the news. We're sick of the panic, we're sick of worrying about terrorists, about swine flu, about climate change, about the exploits of the wealthy, about the recession, about second hand smoke, about violent crime, about police, about riots and demonstrators, about politics, about war and torture and lies and necessity and peace and bombings and invasions and resistance. We want to be happy and live without this pervading sense of panic that has come to grip us over the last decade or so. And we should do that! So go outside; enjoy the fresh air. Relax. We're all going to die, one way or the other. Might as well not spend all our time worrying about it.

We are living organisms, we're part of the natural cycles on this planet. Basic ecology shows that sometimes a population of animals becomes too large and they start making their environment unsuitable for them; they die off and the system restores itself. We're fighting against nature and trying to increase our population, and we might run out of technological tricks to keep ahead of the game. Then there will be a die off (probably war and famine). On the other hand, we may manage to stay one step ahead; we may make a breakthrough in energy technology and be freed from oil reliance. We may colonize the stars.

But no sense worrying about it, if it happens it happens. It's too big for any of us to stop. So go out, enjoy the day, and forget about it. Eventually you'll die and your molecules will spread back out into the universe and whatever ridiculous stuff has happened to our one tiny species on this tiny planet in this tiny corner of the cosmos will be of little consequence.

I think we really, really need some optimism right now. We can talk about the possibility of climate change without it being another of these global panic attacks. But we have to shut ourselves away from the sensationalist media that thrives on instilling panic in everybody. It's been repeated so much that it's almost a cliche but it's about time to SHUT OFF THE DAMNED TV (or internet, same thing but with slight interactivity).

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:45 pm 
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Exec summary of my position:
If global warming is a hoax, it's incredibly elaborate, hugely coordinated and requires the cooperation of a large number of very intelligent individuals who are otherwise in competition with each other and who could each stand to benefit personally on an enormous scale by revealing the truth. I honestly can't see how this is credible.

I'm not a scientist and I don't read literature in the field. Of those who are and do, though, I understand that the last recognised scientific organisation to contest man-made climate change - The American Association of Petroleum Geologists, hardly a neutral voice in the debate as to whether we should use less fossil fuels - has largely conceded the point.

Climate does vary naturally, that's a well-known situation. There's the Medieval Warm Period, while there was apparently what was described as a 'little ice age' in the late 19th century with the river Thames in London freezing over in winter. Definitely doesn't happen now. But that most definitely doesn't preclude the possibility that we're changing it too. I understand the models show that were it not for volcano gas emissions, the Earth would've sooner or later frozen over completely and become almost impossible to melt, so we know that gases they output (such as what we get from burning fossil fuels) can make a big change. Not just the C02 we output but other gases too - methane emissions from livestock rearing, for example, with our much meat-heavier diet than was historically the case. Or the undisputed volume of deforestation across the world - Brazil, Indonesia, many parts of Asia. I'd cite Europe but we did it hundreds of years ago, not to our credit. Sure I've heard somewhere respectable that the bulk of the carbon that makes up the wood is extracted from atmospheric carbon dioxide, so when we look at a huge tree, just think of the volume of potential greenhouse gas it's taken out of the atmosphere, then think how many tonnes of removal capacity we lose every time another few acres are cleared so that we can grow 'environmentally friendly' palm oil or more beef to pump more methane into the atmosphere.

What I really don't understand in the sceptic position is exactly what they think is motivating the vast bulk of the scientific community to lie. Nothing human is perfect but science is, as a rule, pretty good at discarding theories once they've been proven wrong. We don't believe in the interseller ether any more, or alchemy, the four humours or any of a number of other explanations of our world. For global warming to be a hoax, there must be a very strong motivating force compelling scientists to misrepresent their observations and present a false causality - it just takes one solid paper showing that their arguments are provably false and their theories are gone, their work discredited and their careers over. The vast international majority of politicians who believe in climate change must also have a strong motivating factor - one can argue that they want to expand taxes and government control over our lives and this is a way to do that, but when did a major party lose an election by saying that we don't have to do something unpleasant and promising lower taxes? If they could credibly show that global warming was a hoax, that their government could save us from having to make major changes to our lives, they'd be weighing the votes, not counting them.

My understanding of the global cooling position was that it was significantly based around the volume of soot that was being injected into the atmosphere. We knew that large volcanic explosions had had a short to medium term cooling effect because of the quantity of debris they sent into the atmosphere, we knew we were sending a lot of soot into the atmosphere - ergo, we could through our pollution of the air cause cooling. Two problems with this though. One, we now have much more efficient factories, vehicles and so on, and eject a lot less soot than we used to. And two, if one looks at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling, we see in the first paragraph:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling wrote:
This hypothesis never had significant scientific support, but gained temporary popular attention due to a combination of press reports that did not accurately reflect the scientific understanding of ice age cycles, and a slight downward trend of temperatures from the 1940s to the early 1970s.


Confirmation bias is a well known effect, where we notice more strongly the information that is in line with what we want to hear. When given two positions - one of which says we should stop doing something that's useful and fun, another that says we're fine to carry on, which are we more likely to go with? That certainly doesn't mean both are equally valid though.

If the Greenland ice sheets aren't likely to melt, if my trying to save energy and convince others to do likewise is worthless, I've lost what? If it's real, if Greenland does melt and the sea level rises by metres, Bangladesh (population 160 million, pretty much double the density of any other remotely large country) hits severe problems - just a 1m rise would flood half its total area. Venice will be completely underwater with all its treasures. Most of London will be at very severe flood risk. I don't know quite where Paul lives in Essex but his general area would be in major trouble. I'd rather at least try to reduce this risk.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:30 pm 
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eftpotrm wrote:
If the Greenland ice sheets aren't likely to melt, if my trying to save energy and convince others to do likewise is worthless, I've lost what?


This is a good point. The solutions to climate change are something we're going to have to come up with eventually anyway; oil is finite and is going to run out sooner rather than later. We might as well get a leg up on the problem, even if it turns out to be unnecessary in the context of climate change, because it's undeniably necessary in the long term anyway.

Otherwise, even if it doens't affect us directly, we're saying to our kids and our grandkids: "f**k you, we were too selfish to care about the shitstorm you were going to have to live through."

And you're right that a big problem with the notion that climate change is some conspiracy is that careers can be made and broken in science by proving your points, using rigorous methods. If someone could come along and actually bust open the climate change theories conclusively, they'd have the nobel prize, and they'd be famous, and their career prospects limitless. Science thrives on people breaking paradigms and proving them wrong, it's happened over and over and over in the history. Sometimes it takes awhile, becuase dogmas can be hard to break, but it is pretty much inevitable with our current scientific methods.

The point of science is to be flexible and to challenge dogmas and assertions, and most scientists really do put this as their primary goal. It is through this kind of constant challenging that unwavering "facts" about the world become known. Gravity never fails (well, I'm no deep theoretical physicist, maybe there are weird relativistic situations or subatomic particle physics issues, but on a newtonian level anyway...) and it's only through trying to break gravity over and over again that science has come to believe this.

I think a big problem, I mean an abysmally huge problem, is poor science education. I'd guess the majority of people don't understand what the scientific philosophy is; they think it's just a set of facts that scientists believe because they are arrogant scientists. Educators (or lack thereof) are to blame for this.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:06 pm 
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I know it's fashionable in some circles to be suspicious of the motivations of scientists, but here's an example of a good spinoff from thinking about this kind of problem:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 162222.htm

Lots of people are working on this kind of approach; basically doing what led to oil building up in the ground all those millions of years ago - letting plants or other organisms capture sunlight and convert CO2 back into fuel.

If we can figure out how to do things like this on a big enough scale we'll be oil free, and "carbon neutral" as we'll be recapturing the stuff we emit by combustion and converting it back into fuel (with sunlight). We can fix these problems, but only if we stop bickering long enough to get on with the real challenge. It has the potential to be a very exciting time with lots of amazing developments.

Whether or not climate change is a real problem or not that can't be a bad thing.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:27 pm 
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Nice one. I've heard suggestions of pools of bacteria all across New Mexico et al being a good long-term solution before, good to hear they're still going. This is still of course producing a hydrocarbon fuel so emitting CO2 into the atmosphere when its burnt, it's just that like wood it's only emitting what it took out in the first place so is overall neutral.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:07 pm 
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The October 2009 Popular Science magazine had an interesting article call Faking the results. In a nutshell some scientist will fake results to gain tenure, more funding or even just to make a name for themselves. Many of these Scientist are caught in their lies because what they are claiming can be easily tested and validated or disproved.

There is big bucks behind global warm caused by man billions of dollars a year are spent on it, and the thing of it is nobody can prove or disprove the theory at this time people can make all kinds of wild claims get millions of dollars in tax payer money and do research to their hearts content, and this is on both sides of the argument.

Are politicians above lying to get what they want, lets call it controlling information in their favor. Yes they are this has been proven time and again.

Pure science should be above that but it isn't, when billions of dollars are on the line information is a commodity and the best story is one that can't be disproved so hey lets hammer the rich countries to pay for the developing countries and use something like Global warming as the hammer. Conspiracy may be to harsh of word

When I started this I was very clear on my stance that we need to become better stewards of our planet and pass on something better to our children. I am not saying let's do nothing, lets take care of the planet for the right reasons. Maybe one day we will develop a sufficiently sophisticated model to show just how much Co2 affects our atmosphere and how reducing man made greenhouse gases will halt the warming until then i am skeptical that man has sufficient influence to affect something like global temperatures. What we can do is find better cleaner ways to support a comfortable living environment.

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:53 pm 
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http://www.livescience.com/environment/ ... nland.html

Sorry gotta get back to the game...go Wings!

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 Post subject: Re: What is the truth?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:26 am 
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That's a really weird, cynical view of science. Most of us are pretty far from the yacht-going slimeball billionaires you're portraying us as. In fact we make a lot of personal and financial concessions to pursue our passions.

Where do you get this "billions of dollars" figure, anyway? Can you back that up with some grant statistics or something? I did my PhD in something extremely related to pharmaceutical production, and that's a billion dollar industry. Neither me nor my professor (very well known in my field, incidentally, and I'm not doing too bad myself with a few well cited papers) were exactly making a killing on this business, despite these links.

ScottHadl wrote:
The October 2009 Popular Science magazine had an interesting article call Faking the results. In a nutshell some scientist will fake results to gain tenure, more funding or even just to make a name for themselves. Many of these Scientist are caught in their lies because what they are claiming can be easily tested and validated or disproved.

There is big bucks behind global warm caused by man billions of dollars a year are spent on it, and the thing of it is nobody can prove or disprove the theory at this time people can make all kinds of wild claims get millions of dollars in tax payer money and do research to their hearts content, and this is on both sides of the argument.

Are politicians above lying to get what they want, lets call it controlling information in their favor. Yes they are this has been proven time and again.

Pure science should be above that but it isn't, when billions of dollars are on the line information is a commodity and the best story is one that can't be disproved so hey lets hammer the rich countries to pay for the developing countries and use something like Global warming as the hammer. Conspiracy may be to harsh of word

When I started this I was very clear on my stance that we need to become better stewards of our planet and pass on something better to our children. I am not saying let's do nothing, lets take care of the planet for the right reasons. Maybe one day we will develop a sufficiently sophisticated model to show just how much Co2 affects our atmosphere and how reducing man made greenhouse gases will halt the warming until then i am skeptical that man has sufficient influence to affect something like global temperatures. What we can do is find better cleaner ways to support a comfortable living environment.

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The meaning of life is simple: we exist to use our senses and consciousness to appreciate a universe that might otherwise go unappreciated in its eons of vast silence.

http://visualfiction.org/


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