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Another 150,000 Years of CO2 Data 809

Posted by kdawson
from the is-it-hot-in-here-or-is-it-me? dept.
An anonymous reader writes, "We've known since 2004 that the past 440,000 years have shown atmospheric carbon dioxide levels varying between about 200 and 300 ppmv, the difference in extremes being the difference between advancing ice sheets and our current clime. In 2005 the data were analyzed back to 650,000 years and were found to be much the same — Al Gore was proud to be able to show that then-new analysis in his 2006 movie An Inconvenient Truth. Now all 800,000 years of the ice column have been analyzed, and the data show much the same pattern, according to the researcher: 'When carbon dioxide changed there was always an accompanying climate change. Over the last 200 years human activity has increased carbon dioxide to well outside the natural range' — to 380 ppmv."
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Another 150,000 Years of CO2 Data

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  • by CheeseburgerBrown (553703) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:09PM (#16047133) Homepage Journal
    Just one more reason to support the colonization of Mars -- it is obviously that we shouldn't be keeping all our eggs in one basket...especially when the people steering the basket are pretty sure the world is only 6,000 years old and everything that happens upon it is the will of Xenu.

    Mars ho!

    • by Shadowmist (57488) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:11PM (#16047144)
      You can "colonize" Mars all you want. Without precious foodstuffs and volatiles from Earth, what are you going to eat when Sol 3 goes under?
      • by RsG (809189) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:14PM (#16047166)
        Soylent Red?
      • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:18PM (#16047195)
        > You can "colonize" Mars all you want. Without precious foodstuffs and volatiles from Earth, what are you going to eat when Sol 3 goes under?

        Seeing as how Mars' atmosphere has a lot of CO2 in it, and photosynthetic organisms do pretty well in such an environment, I'll probably eat a lot of green leafy things.

        And since Mars doesn't appear to have a history of complex life, it's exceedingly unlikely that there's any coal or oil there.

        And since there's not much oxygen there (on account of there being not much in the way of plant life at present), a gasoline powered engine is gonna be pretty useless.

        Rest easy, secure in the knowledge that future Martians will never despoil their environment by using fossil fuels!

        • by RsG (809189) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:23PM (#16047254)
          photosynthetic organisms do pretty well in such an environment, I'll probably eat a lot of green leafy things.
          OTOH, they also require loads of sunlight, water and soil. Sunlight is present there, but weaker than on Earth, any water on Mars is frozen, and soil requires it's own ecology.

          So, you can certainly grow things there, but you'd need everything from electrical power to a large number of skilled colonists in order to do it on a large scale. Better start preparing now if you want to start living there in the next hundred years :-)
        • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @06:09PM (#16048150)
          Seeing as how Mars' atmosphere has a lot of CO2 in it
          The atmosphere on Mars doesn't have much of anything - the air pressure very low in comparison to earth. One of many silly problems with the movie "Mission to Mars" was some ordinary plants growing in an unsealed tent. A sealed tent that can handle large pressure differences is a different story - NASA has a couple of research projects going on with that idea doing things like growing tomatoes at the South Pole in winter.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by icepick72 (834363)
          Seeing as how Mars' atmosphere has a lot of CO2 in it

          If we can exist on Mars with high CO2 levels, then why are we moving away from earth because it has high CO2 levels?
          Mars has been proven to be a harsh enviornment.
          I would rather stay in our harsh environment here while others may choose to travel to a harsher one because ours is harsh ... I'm confused.
    • That's it! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Dasher42 (514179) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:14PM (#16047168)
      No, you can't have another planet. Learn to take care of the one you got first.

      I'll turn this rocket right around!
    • by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:17PM (#16047194)
      And the triple-breasted hookers are just icing on the cake!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:18PM (#16047203)
      Bill O'Reilly, a populist, has apparently joined forces with Al Gore, a liberal. O'Reilly is an ardent environmentalist. Though he accuses Gore of being a hypocrite (for doing almost nothing for the environment during 1993-2000), O'Reilly believes that man-made pollution is screwing up the environment.

      O'Reilly points out that if igorants in a 3rd-world country like Brazil can wean it off oil and onto ethanol, there is no reason why people in the supposedly most technologically advanced country (i.e., the USA) cannot do the same. O'Reilly claims that the reason for America's still being dependent on foreign oil is that Washington is in the pockets of Big Oil: ExxonMobile, Chevron, and Shell.

      • by paranode (671698) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:28PM (#16047302)
        Well there's that, and the fact that we get our ethanol from corn which is not nearly as useful for producing ethanol as Brazil's sugar cane is. And of course, our corn lobby is actually pretty big and have consequently placed nice restrictions on importing ethanol from such countries as Brazil as well as getting sugar cane into the business of producing ethanol. So it's not exactly 'big oil', though their lobby is plenty powerful on its own.

        As usual, what's good for the environment/consumer/voter takes a back seat to politicians' special interests.

        • Well, and of course, there's the inconvenient fact that in order to get the yields one needs to support a ethanol-based economy, the corn fields in question need a large amount of artificial fertilizers which come from (you guessed it) fossil fuels (And, yes, I grew up in an Illinois farming community, so I do know a thing or two about growing corn and where fertilizers come from). In reality, it's not clear that switching to an ethanol-based economy would decrease our dependence on fossil fuels (it might
        • Uhhh, yeah (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Ogemaniac (841129)
          We produce all sorts of ethanol, too. We just consume, FAR FAR more oil. We also don't have a lot of rain forests to chop down to replace with cane plantations.

          The "Brazillian model" is absolutely irrelevant to the US, unless you expect three quarters of people to give up their cars and for us to rip up most of the national forests and parklands to plant fuel crops.
      • I'm glad he has said things like this on national television - it can only help the cause.

        Occasionally O'Reilly says something reasonable or admits a progressive cause(conservation, actually is historically a conservative cause, hence the name), and we should applaud him for doing so.

        Likewise, we should applaud a thousand monkeys with typewriters when they write occasionally write something reasonable.

        Evolution needs positive reinforcement.
      • O'Reilly points out that if igorants in a 3rd-world country like Brazil can wean it off oil and onto ethanol

        Problem: they've weaned themselves off dead dinosaurs, and on to TOPSOIL. Before irrigation, Egypt was green. GREEN! Now it's a fucking desert. The same is in Brazil's future if they elect to continue to overproduce sugar cane in order to make ethanol out of it so that they can use it to make fuel.

        The simple fact is that agriculture should be kept at a bare minimum, to preserve topsoil which takes up to hundreds of years to build, so that we can use it for food production - if we must. Ideally, ALL agriculture would go hydroponic at some point. Brazil is only growing economically and if they continue to expand, then they will end up with a soil crisis, where we have an oil crisis, and peak soil is a fuck of a lot more serious than peak oil.

        Don't point to Brazil as a positive example. They're currently in the process of destroying their country. The only way they're superior to all us oil-guzzlers is that for now, they're only hurting themselves, as opposed to our "stomp around the globe in heavy boots" tactics of securing oil.

        • Before irrigation, Egypt was green. GREEN! Now it's a fucking desert.


          Care to cite a source on this? The whole region (the Sahara) was much greener in the past, this is true, but desertification started long before the advent of agriculture, and has been creeping along for the last 30,000 years or so. Egypt, at least as long as it has held civilization, always been mostly desert, which is why the largest population centers there (now, and thoughout history) have been next to the Nile. Also do a brief refresher of Egyption mythology to see the importance of annual Nile flooding for their agriculture thoughout the ages. 60,000 years ago Egypt indeed might have been more grassy than today, or even 30,000 years ago, but it changed previous to the advent of heavy agriculture.

          I think Brazil is doing much better ecologically than we are, even if this "risk" to topsoil is real. Top soil can be managed through intelligent farming techniques, it can even be retained and replenished thanks to modern farming technology. Even fertilizers can be used to replenish mineral and nitrogen content of the soil, and while if used unintelligently this can lead to enviromental impacts, this is not a necissary consiquence.

          In the end, the enviromental consiquences of ethenol is much much less than using fossil fuel (which, BTW, has nothing to do with dinosaurs, or even prehistoric fauna, it is the result of ancient, but much after dinosaurs, swamps and boglands decaying).

          I really don't see how Brazil is destroying their economy. All indicators say that their succesfully applying a socialist model to it, with great results. Granted, their not quite up to "first world" standards, but in light of the region, and history, they're doing great for an progressive emerging economy.
          • Care to cite a source on this? The whole region (the Sahara) was much greener in the past, this is true, but desertification started long before the advent of agriculture, and has been creeping along for the last 30,000 years or so.

            Egypt may be a bad example, because the climate change in the Sahara was naturally occuring, but if I'm not mistaken Mesopotamia -- the famed "Fertile Crescent" -- is a good example of what irrigation and deforestation can do to a region if that region is not capable of supportin
            • The problem you cite with Mesopotamia (and much of the Middle East) had little to do with deforestation and farming, and everything to do with Bedouins and goats.

              Cattle just eat the top part of the grass.

              Sheep eat the grass down to the ground, which damages the grass, but doesn't usually kill it off entirely, at least not if pasture rotation is practiced.

              But goats pull up the roots, and that kills grass outright. (D'oh!)

              And without ground cover (not necessarily trees -- grass is better for retaining topsoil
        • Bullshit (Score:3, Interesting)

          Not an insult - but a mechanism for helping to maintain topsoil.

          Agriculture does not consume "topsoil which takes up to hundreds of years to build". Sure, you can bulldoze it out of the way or arrange for it to blow away, but that's stupidity rather than agriculture that's doing that. As an example, the part of England that I was born in was originally natural deciduous forest, and over the last 2000 years was farmed first for trees, then for a mixture of everything (with cows doing their bit to maintain
        • by CaptainCarrot (84625) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @06:33PM (#16048295)

          Before irrigation, Egypt was green. GREEN! Now it's a fucking desert.

          I'm sorry, but this is exactly the kind of falsely alarmist crap that's causing so many people to be skeptical of the environmental movement.

          Egypt and the surrounding desert was green about 6,000 BP because of an period of unusually heavy precipitation in the region called the Neolithic Subpluvial. It supported agriculture in what is now desert, yes, and also a pastoral economy. Desertification resumed about 5,000 BP not because of these activities -- there were, for example, no forests to cut down -- but because the rain stopped. (And this was also not due to human activity, which was at a relatively low level at the time.) Agriculture in the Nile Valley has ever since, and until the construction of the dams at Aswan, been reliant on the annual Nile flood. This flood irrigates fields all by itself, without human intervention. There was a degree of artificial irrigation, true, but it had little effect on the progress of desertification.

          Stick to the truth; you'll be more convincing.

    • by MooseTick (895855) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:45PM (#16047456) Homepage
      Before we go to Mars I'd like to see a self sufficient groups survive 500 feet under the ocean for 1 year. Living underwater at least has easy access to water, food, and air(by breaking down the water). That seems lots easier than surviving on Mars. If we could do that then we'd be OK even if all the ice caps melted and the average temp at the equator was 150 degrees. If we can't do that, then it seems highly unlikely a group could flourish on Mars.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ChrisA90278 (905188)
      No matter how badly polluted and climate changed the Earth becomes life will be easier here on Earth then on Mars. Even if the air become toxic so we need a gas mask to breath and most life dies, still it will be easier then on Mars. At least on earth we would have air pressure and a magnetic field. Mars without a strong magnetic field means that people will need to live underground in shelters and will need to limit their exposure to rediation on the surface. Go to Mars for other reasons like "because y
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:10PM (#16047142)
    I reject any conclusions that could be drawn from this on the basis that it's cooler than normal in my neck of the woods. Obviously, even though I don't understand the science behind any of this, I have cleanly disproven all silly liberal claims about "global warming" and whatnot that are about to pop up.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Frymaster (171343)
      I reject any conclusions that could be drawn from this on the basis that it's cooler than normal in my neck of the woods.

      while i recognize and respect your sarcasm, i think it's important to point out the biggest myth about 'global warming' of all: that it always means a warmer climate.

      witness northern newfoundland. the area around norhtern newfoundland has gotten significantly colder in the last thirty years. why? global warming. increasing average temperatures at the poles have caused accelerated ice

  • by StevenMaurer (115071) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:14PM (#16047174) Homepage
    We need to start working on carbon sequestration right now, unless you want 140 degree summers across the entire midwest belt. And we need to use carbon taxes as our main source of governmental revenue, not stupid things like employment taxes.

    I really think that unless we do something immediately, the habitability of at least half the landmass on Earth will be be jeapordy.

    • by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:23PM (#16047253) Homepage
      We need to start working on carbon sequestration right now, unless you want 140 degree summers across the entire midwest belt. And we need to use carbon taxes as our main source of governmental revenue, not stupid things like employment taxes.

      Hey, I live in Canada... Up here global warming sounds like kind of a nice idea, unless you like shoveling snow... ;)
      • by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:42PM (#16047426)
        Hey, I live in Canada... Up here global warming sounds like kind of a nice idea, unless you like shoveling snow... ;)
        Dear Canada: There's nearly 300 million of us Americans, and global warming is going to make our land less pleasant and your land more pleasant. Plus, you'll be one of the last places with lots of oil left to burn. I mean, look what we did to Iraq, and we didn't even want their land. Still like the idea of global warming?
    • by Scrameustache (459504) * on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @06:21PM (#16048235) Homepage Journal
      We need to start working on carbon sequestration right now, unless you want 140 degree summers across the entire midwest belt. And we need to use carbon taxes as our main source of governmental revenue, not stupid things like employment taxes.

      Oh great, tax people for working out, breathing out CO2, and not the fatties, storing carbon in their blubber.
      That won't backfire, will it?

      I really think that unless we do something immediately, the habitability of at least half the landmass on Earth will be be jeapordy.

      And as I demonstrated above, your plan will hit their hitability. By gods man! What's a few floods compared to that?!
  • by WebSurfinMurf (700397) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:17PM (#16047193)
    True leaders will rise to lead the people ahead of a crisis, and not just react. In the world arena, I do not see any one nation or leader that can motivate human kind into action to reduce CO2. Therefore we will have to endure severe devestation, and then with the pain and suffering that it brings, people will THEN react to rectify the problem.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:20PM (#16047222)
    "Our position is that the unnatural levels of CO2 are the direct result of the Left's insistence upon breathing and speaking. Our studies show that, if they were to halt both of these annoying habits, a more natural level of CO2 would be quickly achieved. The course of action is clear. You are either with us or against us. Period. The End."
  • by Crazy Man on Fire (153457) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:23PM (#16047248) Homepage
    I really liked the move, I've got just one complaint. There are way too many shots of Gore being driven around in a big car or being flowin around in a jet. The whole movie, he talks about reducing our carbon footprint, but he doesn't use public transit once in the movie. I can't believe the filmmakers didn't see this jumping right out at them.
    • by theodicey (662941) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:48PM (#16047477)
      Both the movie and the book An Inconvenient Truth were carbon neutral [treehugger.com] (via purchase of wind power carbon credits from NativeEnergy). According to various interviews, Gore also has offset his personal carbon consumption.

      Using public transit is a good thing, but it's not a realistic option for everyone (particularly celebrities, given how the rest of us react to them).

      By going Carbon Neutral in his personal life and business ventures, Gore is personally doing as much to fight global warming as anyone can reasonably do. I'm not going to judge him based on whether he uses compact fluorescent bulbs in his laundry room.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TheGavster (774657) *
        So, apparently you can go carbon neutral via large amounts of money. For those of us who are not millionare members of the liberal elite, how shall we make this change in our lives? Gore still rides SUVs and airplanes, and lives in a huge house. I'm not seeing the solution for the common man here.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Chris Burke (6130)
          So, apparently you can go carbon neutral via large amounts of money. For those of us who are not millionare members of the liberal elite, how shall we make this change in our lives? Gore still rides SUVs and airplanes, and lives in a huge house. I'm not seeing the solution for the common man here.

          Well, if all of the rich -- including, especially, those who own and run large corporations -- made a commitment to being carbon neutral, then there wouldn't be much left for the common man to do but buy fuel effic
        • You can be carbon neutral. Check out terrapass [terrapass.com]. An SUV's yearly CO2 output can be offset for about $80, a standard car is about $50 (depending on how much you drive). The cost of making a round trip cross country flight carbon neutral is about $15. It's not a license to pollute but it certainly makes a difference.

          Check out their faq [terrapass.com] for more info.

          The changes we ought to make aren't that extreme or terribly expensive -- $15 extra for a flight is about what the TSA tacks onto your ticket for passen
  • by jnaujok (804613) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:23PM (#16047255) Homepage Journal
    If you are going to claim that as CO2 went up, the climate changed, and vice versa, then you are stating, unequivocally, that CO2 drives climate. So, the question then becomes, if the CO2 varies from 200-300ppm over the last 800,000 years, then what drove those changes?

    Once again, this article confuses correlation with causation. If you are going to state that CO2 changes cause climate change, then you must also demonstrate a mechanism for the changing CO2. If, on the other hand, climate change causes changes in CO2 levels, then you need only explain climate change, something which has been adequately explained by solar cycles. http://solar-center.stanford.edu/sun-on-earth/vars un.html [stanford.edu] and http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/milankovitch.html [noaa.gov]

    In fact, it's more correctly stated that CO2 levels tend to lag behind climate changes by up to 900 years. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/299 /5613/1728 [sciencemag.org] Although the folks at RealClimate like to just sweep this little fact under the carpet as unimportant. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=13 [realclimate.org] To them, apparently, man made CO2 causes instant warming, but natural CO2 takes up to 800 years to have an effect.

    Again, be very careful about assigning cause and effect in a system as complex as the atmosphere.

    In other words, this extra datum is nice to have, but it changes nothing in any ongoing debate.
    • by 955301 (209856)

      But but but... the article isn't intent on proving global climate change. Existing data already establishes that - heck you can establish causation by creating a closed environment changing the percent CO2 in it and exposing it to sunlight periodically - it's called a greenhouse.

      The article's intent seems to be to confirm that the other 150k of data doesn't deviate from the previously assessed dataset.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      it changes nothing in any ongoing debate.


      For those actually paying attention, there is no "ongoing debate" in scientific circles over human influence in climate change. The only people "debating" it are the conservative politicians and anti-environmentalist special interest groups, in order to seed doubt and to prevent any action to be taken.

    • by Coryoth (254751) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @05:06PM (#16047635) Homepage Journal
      It seems to me that, contrary to your strawman version of their claims, the realclimate article has a very valid point. Reading that summary, and also the linked references to published papers on the topic, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation: In the past carbon dioxide has not been the initial cause of climate changes, but rather a feedback mechanism. That is, Milankovitch cycles cause some initial warming. Warming is known to cause the oceans to be less able to sequester carbon, and hence carbon dioxide levels tend to rise when the planet warms. Once this initial kickstart has produced more atmospheric carbon dioxide (which takes, apparently, around 600 to 1200 years) a feedback cycle ensues with the increased levels of carbon dioxide producing yet more warming. The resulting warming continues for a period of around 4200 years, during which carbon dioxide is very likely to be a factor.

      This seems very reasonable - one would hardly expect atmospheric carbon dioxide to necessarily be the initial driver for warming given that, historically anyway, there wasn't anything (other than warming) that could cause a significant enough change in atmospheric carbon dioxide to induce warming. Just because the intergalicials required orbital variation to kick off the warming and start the process of carbon dioxide induced warming hardly invalidates carbon dioxide potentially being a factor in warming. Rather, the burden of proof lies more with those who claim it doesn't: we know that atmospheric carbon dioxide, due to its absorption spectra, will trap heat by allowing incoming energy from the sun to pass (due to wavelength) while trapping and radiating back the reflected heat energy from the earth (due to its different waverlength to that of incoming energy from the sun); what is need is an explanation of why that effect is either of no significance, or why it in fact does not occur for some reason. No one has provided such an explanation.

      In summary, instead of, as you claim, "...to them, apparently, man made CO2 causes instant warming, but natural CO2 takes up to 800 years to have an effect", it is the opposite: to them man made carbon dioxide can cause carbon dioxide levels to change and precede warming effects, but natural changes in carbon dioxide levels require warming to occur and thus lag behind warming events from other causes (such as Milankovitch cycles).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Chops (168851)

      If you are going to claim that as CO2 went up, the climate changed, and vice versa, then you are stating, unequivocally, that CO2 drives climate.

      ... and vice versa, yes. You said that right in the previous sentence -- you should wait at least a few sentences before you claim that someone said it was a one way street :-).

      So, the question then becomes, if the CO2 varies from 200-300ppm over the last 800,000 years, then what drove those changes?

      Wait -- are you saying that their measurements are in error,

  • more complicated (Score:3, Insightful)

    by potpie (706881) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:24PM (#16047266) Journal
    It seems that politicians want you to think it's as simple as "CO2 makes the world hotter." But humanity is not the climate's keeper. For instance, the oceans dissolve tons of carbon dioxide and slowly deposit it in rocks. The hotter the climate, the more carbon dioxide can be dissolved in the water. And I am still waiting to hear how much volcanoes pollute, because we certainly don't control them and they look like they might be contributing to the contents of the atmosphere just a tad. Yet nobody is trying to find out how much the oceans help regulate the atmosphere, nobody is trying to defame volcanoes. There just isn't any money there. First you scare people by threatening the apocalypse, or even worse: change! Then you have something to base your campaign on, or something to get grant money with.
  • by HoneyBeeSpace (724189) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:34PM (#16047350) Homepage
    If you'd like to use some of the data these articles discuss, the EdGCM [columbia.edu] project has wrapped a NASA global climate model (GCM) in a GUI (OS X and Win). You can add CO2 or turn the sun down by a few percent all with a checkbox and a slider. Supercomputers and advanced FORTRAN programmers are no longer necessary to run your own GCM.

    Disclaimer: I'm the project developer.
  • by Chops (168851) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:38PM (#16047390)
    Now, as always, we can cue a horde of astroturfers and deluded followers, rushing in to tell us all how global warming is a myth, and that the shocking recent rise [wikipedia.org] in CO2 levels is somehow not demonstratable, or not significant, or something.

    Well, that's okay: Now that the Siberian permafrost is melting [newscientist.com], along with Antarctica [bbc.co.uk], it looks like the Earth's processes have been pushed into a region within which global warming will continue, even if humans reduce their carbon emissions, which itself isn't likely. So congratulations, guys: you won. You kept us from doing something about the problem until it was too late, and now we're going to be stuck with it.

    You "skeptics": in twenty years, when the problems caused by global warming make Katrina and heat waves that kill 35,000 people [newscientist.com] look pretty trivial, are you going to look back on your postings on slashdot -- and whatever else you're doing to spread the idea that global warming can be ignored -- and feel ashamed? Are you going to feel partly responsible?

    Probably not.
  • by Irvu (248207) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:54PM (#16047525)
    Once again people are reading the article and doing one of 3 things:
    1. Making poor jokes.
    2. Attempting to refute the article simply because they don't want to believe it.
    3. Asking What can we do?


    With respect to the first knock yourselves out. With respect to the second pull your heads from the magical oil sands.

    But for the third here is what you can do: Contact your reps.

    Those of you in the U.S. will find that election day is fast approaching. The Mid-term congressional elections as well as many state elections are next week!. Now is the time to call, write, and fax your elected reps. Quote this data to them and demand to know what they will do telling them, in plain form, that they will forefit your vote and your money if they do not make you happy.

    Don't just focus on the federal politicians California [google.com] recently showed how a state can aggressively (start) limiting greenhouse gasses. States also control the vast majority of funding for public transit and are in charge of monitoring many polluters. Local Govenrments can do more as well by tackling transit issues as well as local pollution control efforts.

    Right now many of them are desperate and worried. Now, more than ever, they can in should be bombarded with calls and moved very clearly in the right direction.

    I know that it's fun to sit on /. and argue with the loonies but real action on climate change happens offline. It happens through political muscle and monetary lobbying. No matter how high your /. Karma, the Senators don't care.

    1. The U.S. Senate [senate.gov]
    2. The U.S. House [house.gov]
    3. Use a Google [google.com] to find state and local reps.


    Those of you in other countries do the same thing neither whining nor lunatic dreams of carbonless oil will get us there.

    Karma is not action.

    • by Irvu (248207)
      At the same time those of you seeking personal changes might do the following:
      1. Bike/walk more and drive less. (the fuel is cheaper) if you don't live in an easy bike to work then move, explore carpooling, take the bus, etc. You might also consider how often you drive outside of work. It isn't necessary to drive everywhere all the time. And it can't hurt health-wize either.
      2. Turn off your lights.

        If you aren't in the room you don't need them on. And just do it with a switch. Many of those motion
  • Skeptical (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gatzke (2977) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:56PM (#16047543) Homepage Journal
    But CO2 levels we are low on the million year scale, if you believe stuff in wikipedia...

    Graph at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide [wikipedia.org] levels were 10x what they are now

    "Changes in carbon dioxide during the Phanerozoic (the last 542 million years). The recent period is located on the left-hand side of the plot, and it appears that much of the last 550 million years has experienced carbon dioxide concentrations significantly higher than the present day."

    Plus, mars is warming with receding ice caps. Maybe solar effects are what is driving our change? http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/3362375 .html [chron.com]

    I am always a bit skeptical, since I was the generation that had both Igloo effect and global warming in the same textbook in middle school...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by uncadonna (85026)
      Ah, the Mars thing rears its head, as usual.

      Let me be the one this time to point out that it's completely irrelevant, as explained here [realclimate.org].

  • by redelm (54142) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @04:59PM (#16047582) Homepage
    Correlation does not imply causality. Henry's LaW [Gas solubility] _requires_ steady-state CO2 levels to increase with increasing temperature because of reduced gas solubility. The same beer that only makes a small "psst" when cold will foam all over the place when opened warm.

    We have warmer temperatures. Higher CO2 could be an effect more than a cause. Anthropogenic CO2 is averages about 80 g/m3/yr. Rain is 800 kg/m2/yr. 1e4 times more is likely to have a much bigger effect. CO2 might even have a cooling effect if it increases cloud nucleation and increases albeido.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by uncadonna (85026)
      Correlation does not imply causality.

      No, but it sure doesn't refute it. Now suppose there were lots of other reasons to expect causality, say, classical physics for example.`

      The same beer that only makes a small "psst" when cold will foam all over the place when opened warm.

      This is a real phenomenon, but it doesn't prevent the greenhouse effect from taking place. It's a positive feedback that could make the situation worse. Fortunately, not much worse. It's a long story, but in short, the ocean is

  • One thing that is always striking when nerds talk about this stuff is that there seems to be an overlap between the people who think it's unlikely that we have the capacity to make the earth unlivable and those who think it's likely that we have the capacity to make other planets livable.

    Which process do you think is easier?

    Lech Walesa once said something to the effect that it's easier to make a fish soup out of an aquarium than the other way around. He was referring to Poland, but he could have been referring to the whole world as well.

One of the most overlooked advantages to computers is... If they do foul up, there's no law against whacking them around a little. -- Joe Martin

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