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Mass Extinctions from Global Warming? 348

Posted by Zonk
from the ruh-roh-raggy dept.
uncleO writes "The current issue of Scientific American has an interesting article, Impact from the Deep, about the possible causes for the five major global extinctions. It contends that only the most recent one was caused by a 'dinosaur killer' asteroid impact. Evidence suggests that the others were caused by 'great bubbles of toxic H2S gas erupting into the atmosphere' from the oceans due to anoxia." From the article: "The so-called thermal extinction at the end of the Paleocene began when atmospheric CO2 was just under 1,000 parts per million (ppm). At the end of the Triassic, CO2 was just above 1,000 ppm. Today with CO2 around 385 ppm...climbing at an annual rate of 2 ppm...to 3 ppm, levels could approach 900 ppm by the end of the next century."
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Mass Extinctions from Global Warming?

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  • by fyngyrz (762201) * on Sunday October 08, 2006 @06:25AM (#16353985) Homepage Journal

    The only extinction I really expect to see is that of the reputations of "scientists" who harp on CO2 emissions when CO2 is a very small part of the overall picture; Methane has a far greater effect, as do many other things.

    We have every reason to reduce emissions. I'm absolutely pro-emission-reduction; cleaner air is better for every living thing and that's a perfectly good justification to swing me. However, bogus, over-hyped faux "science" just serves to give the opponents somewhere to stand and take a swing at the "scientists."

    The fact is, we've been warmer, and we've been colder, and CO2 is not the be-all, end-all index of why it is cold or hot. For instance, just let a major volcano erupt and you'll see a temperature swing that'll get your attention. Or let methane generation get completely out of hand, that'll put CO2 in perspective for you.

    Aside from all that, we'll cope with whatever comes our way, anyway. We always have; we always will. Barring asteroid impacts, of course.

    • by Daniel Franklin (60786) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @07:22AM (#16354157) Homepage
      Are you a "scientist"?

      Perhaps you should read some of the literature. Of all the greenhouse gases, CO2 is, by a considerable margin, the most significant. Methane (and others) are far more potent... there just isn't as much, so their effect is smaller.

      The fact is, global temperatures are strongly correlated with CO2 concentration. That's a mathematical fact, recorded in the ice of Antarctica. CO2 concentrations are increasing at an unprecedented rate. This is a real cause for concern. Glaciers are shrinking... major chunks of Antarctica are just melting away. I don't doubt that we can survive. However, unless we do something *now* about all the crap we are pumping into the atmosphere (primarily CO2, but also methane and others) we are going to see significant rises in sea levels within our lifetime.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Bongo (13261)
        The fact is, global temperatures are strongly correlated with CO2 concentration. That's a mathematical fact, recorded in the ice of Antarctica.

        But in those records the CO2 increases lag temperature increases by 800 years. So which causes which? Climatologists answer this by claiming that some unknown process starts the warming, and then, 800 years later, CO2 comes in and acts as a feedback to cause further warming. That's a rather murky explanation.

    • by Alef (605149) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @07:38AM (#16354219)
      Methane has a far greater effect, as do many other things.

      Methane is a stronger greenhouse gas per molecule. But that doesn't mean it has a greater impact, since there is much less methane being released into the atmosphere.

      As a funny side note: a significant amount (more than a third) of the anthropogenic methane emissions are coming from agriculture -- farting livestock basically.

    • by ccarson (562931) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @07:39AM (#16354223)
      I've been following global warming for a long time now doing a lot research on the side for the last couple of years. Here are some facts about global warming. Some of which you hear and don't hear from the main stream media:

      1.) The world appears to be getting warmer with many computer models showing an increase in global temperature.
      2.) Tying a trend to warmer temperatures based on older data from the early 1900's is suspect at best. Good, reliable, accurate scientific equipment that measures the temperature wasn't readily available until recently (late 1900's).
      3.) The sun's activity has increased by approx. 10% in the last 15 years. In other words, it's getting hotter.
      4.) Apparently, the Earth magnetic field has decreased by 10% in the last 10 years. I'm an electrical engineer and during my studies in particle physics, I learned that a particles velocity can be affected by magnetic fields. I keep hearing about the increased activity of our Sun and believe it's possible that more of the Sun's radiation is penetrating the Earth's magnetic field due to it being weaker. If more radiation hits the Earth and the Sun is spewing out more heat, shouldn't that also increase the overall temperature of the Earth and can global warming be attributed to this?
      5.) Jupitor is experiencing the same climate change that Earth is. (source: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/060504_red_j r.html [space.com])
      6.) Mars is experiencing the same climate change that Earth is. (source: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/ mars_snow_011206-1.html [space.com])


      How can you explain the recent same climate changes on different planets? I doubt it's all those cars being driven there.

      Is it possible that the warmer temperatures that Earth is experiencing are caused by cyclical natural phenomena? What about glaciers in Greenland that have been shrinking for 100 years (source: http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/08/21/060821191 826.o0mynclv.html [breitbart.com])? What about the American dust bowl in the early 1930's? Was that caused by huge carbon emissions or was it a small natural climate cycle that just happens? Also, how do you explain huge ice ages on Earth? Were those climate changes, which are no doubt more extreme than what's going on now, caused by the combustion engine?
      • by Elkboy (770849) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @08:24AM (#16354413)

        2.) Scientists do new measurements on old sources. We don't just rely on old measurements.

        3.) Who says that? According to the World Radiation Center and the Max Planck institute, there has been no increase in solar irradiance since the 40s.

        5.) Jupiter, the gas giant, which is so much like the earth? As for Mars, it's interesting how just a few snaps from space can make you think, while years and years of direct measurements and hundreds of thousands of years of proxy data from earth means nothing.

        Noone is denying that natural cycles exist. But there is no theory to explain the observed climate changes based on natural cycles alone. They work on time scales of thousands of years, while we're seeing change on a scale of just decades or centuries. What natural cycles do show us, however, is that an increase in CO2 concentration means higher temperatures. That is a fact, just as the observed spike in CO2 concentration is a fact. The data also shows that natural CO2 fluctuations did have a strong effect on ice ages and warm periods, and now humans have increased CO2 levels to historical highs.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by ccarson (562931)
          3.) Who says that? According to the World Radiation Center and the Max Planck institute, there has been no increase in solar irradiance since the 40s.

          That's incorrect. See here: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/sun_output_0 30320.html [space.com]

          And for the record, a minor correction on my part, the increase in the Sun's activity isn't 10% in 15 years but rather 1.5-2.0% in 30 years. Regardless, my point is it's getting warmer which may explain why the Earth is also warmer.
        • by fyngyrz (762201) * on Sunday October 08, 2006 @09:23AM (#16354673) Homepage Journal
          Who says that? According to the World Radiation Center and the Max Planck institute, there has been no increase in solar irradiance since the 40s.

          There have been some really exceptional flares recently, X-class and basically darned near off the scale (X22(!), in 2001 if memory serves.) We've been lucky enough to miss a direct hit from the worst of them, but clearly, old sol is having a bit of a temper tantrum, at least when you consider the narrow environmental window we can survive within. As a ham radio operator, I've been carefully watching, and been directly affected by, the 11-ish year solar cycle for the last fifty years, and I can tell you that the atmosphere's behavior today in terms of propagation is not even remotely similar to the way it was when I first began paying attention. This is essentially a direct the result of solar activity, and of little else, as near as anyone has been able to figure out. So I'm inclined to be doubtful when anyone says that solar input to the planet isn't changing, based on my own observations, for which I have logs dating back to the late fifties.

          But there is no theory to explain the observed climate changes based on natural cycles alone.

          This does not mean that we are not seeing a natural cycle. There is no validated theory connecting quantum and macro level activity, either, but that doesn't mean it isn't connected. There is no theory that definitively explains how a "big bang" could come about, yet it may be the case, and so on. The bottom line is, nature doesn't give a hoot for our theories, it does what it does despite what we believe. Theories are our best shot at trying to understand what is going on. But in many cases -- how brains work, what intelligence means, interesting details about gravity, and yes, climate, theory is not really very well nailed down.

          The fact that in the geological record, CO2 increases lag warming periods by quite a bit puts at least some reasonable doubt on it as a causative agent, per se. Dust, on the other hand, is a known causative agent (see 1816, AKA the "year without a summer" for a seminal example.) It may well be that particulates are a far greater villain in the end. Certainly the more recent records (last millennium or so) favors this outlook.

          Look, it is perfectly reasonable to argue for reduction of emissions. We have lots of right here, right now, reasons to so argue. Acid rain. Particulate levels of various unfriendly materials. Radioactivity from burning coal. Simple visibility beyond a mile or so in urban areas. Why not stick with what we actually know instead of creating a cult of "CO2 is the Evil Heat God" worshipers out of what is really pretty doubtful (and ass backwards in terms of causality) theory? Maybe a hundred years from now we'll have a handle on climate. Maybe (though I personally doubt it) on weather as well. But clearly, we do not today, and it seems quite ridiculous to get in a froth over such doubtful science.

          And then there's the whole "politically correct" factor; there is no question that speaking against the climate change faction is not any way to get funding, to get published, or even to get invited to a party. That's got a very bad smell when it applies to science. We're supposed to make predictions from the data, not match the data to our predictions, no matter what the outside influences are. I fear climate science has done very poorly in this regard. From strident predictions of an "immanent ice age" to "we're all gonna fry!" within the space of a few decades is a real bell-ringer. It seems to me that these folks need to spend a little more time looking at what is happening before we should pay them a whole lot of attention in terms of them having the definitive scoop on what's going to happen... or not.

          • by ajs (35943) <ajsNO@SPAMajs.com> on Sunday October 08, 2006 @12:31PM (#16355885) Homepage Journal
            First off, excellent post, and thank you.

            I just wanted to follow up on one bit:

            Look, it is perfectly reasonable to argue for reduction of emissions. We have lots of right here, right now, reasons to so argue. Acid rain. Particulate levels of various unfriendly materials. Radioactivity from burning coal. Simple visibility beyond a mile or so in urban areas.


            This is where classic risk management comes in, a topic sadly ignored by most of the current round of environmentalists. Topics with long-range impact and highly variable outcomes (global warming, nuclear waste) are hot-buttons, but companies that are polluting the third world to an extent where immediate and large-scale deaths result (Coca-Cola and Union Carbide, for example, not to mention the Chinese government) get almost no attention. All of the focus right now is on the emission of CO2. Sulphur and other toxins which have greater impact on the environment in the short term are nearly ignored.

            In fact, most of the problems that you list have very little to do with CO2, and current plans to reduce CO2 emissions would have little impact on them.
          • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @01:54PM (#16356527) Homepage Journal
            >From strident predictions of an "immanent ice age" to "we're all gonna fry!" within the space of a few decades

            Someone took the time to assemble a bibliography of climate change literature from the 70s with reference to predictions of cooling [wmconnolley.org.uk]. In the scientific literature, as contrasted with Newsweek, the closest thing was a paper that pointed out the current interglacial could end in a few thousand years, or maybe even a few hundred. The overwhelming bulk reached the totally accurate conclusion that they didn't know enough to make a prediction.

            The hard data on solar output from satellite measurements [nasa.gov] goes back fifteen years and is kinda-sorta constant over that period. Much earlier, and you're relying on horribly indirect proxy measurements like radionuclides. There are a lot of uncertainties about trends in solar output [realclimate.org], although some climatologists think it could account for 10-30% of the temperature rise we've seen.
      • Troll Food. (Score:5, Informative)

        by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @08:35AM (#16354461) Journal
        "I've been following global warming for a long time now doing a lot research on the side for the last couple of years. Here are some facts about global warming. Some of which you hear and don't hear from the main stream media"

        Just in case you actually belive your "research", here is a handy mythbuster [realclimate.org]. A bit of research on that site will set you straight, the link itself points to a search on the word "myth", I'm confident the results will cover your objections and questions.

        BTW: If you can come up with an original myth I'm sure the boffins at realclimate will be happy to try and bust it for you, if they can't then you may just end up famous.
      • by rbarreira (836272)
        2.) Tying a trend to warmer temperatures based on older data from the early 1900's is suspect at best. Good, reliable, accurate scientific equipment that measures the temperature wasn't readily available until recently (late 1900's).

        Have you heard about this? [wikipedia.org]
      • by Max von H. (19283) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @09:39AM (#16354799) Homepage
        What about the American dust bowl in the early 1930's? Was that caused by huge carbon emissions or was it a small natural climate cycle that just happens?

        That was man made, according to this wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]:

        "The Dust Bowl was the result of a series of dust storms in the central United States and Canada from 1934 to 1939, caused by decades of inappropriate farming techniques, with buffalo herds that fertilized the soil displaced by wheat farming, followed by a severe drought. The fertile soil of the Great Plains was exposed through removal of grass during plowing. During the drought, the soil dried out, became dust, and blew away eastwards, mostly in large black clouds. At times, the clouds blackened the sky all the way to Chicago, and much of the soil was completely lost into the Atlantic Ocean."

        Get your facts straight, puhleeeaaase! Western civilization and productivist agriculture hold a nasty record in destroying the environment on a wide scale. You can't destroy entire ecosystems without suffering consequenses, short-term and long-term.
      • by DannyO152 (544940)

        I thought the dust bowl was a consequence of man's changing the environment. Prairie sod was broken up for cultivation, and when a natural cyclical decline in rainfall occurred, the soil, now exposed and broken up, blew away.

        Let's suppose a large component of what's being observed today is natural: does it make sense to not address our activities that accelerate the consequences? Or, do you need a scientific study to empirically show that a stitch in time saves nine?

      • by jrumney (197329)

        What about glaciers in Greenland that have been shrinking for 100 years

        Since soon after the start of the industrial revolution, and the introduction of the motor car. And that is your evidence that human CO2 production has no effect on the climate?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by RedWizzard (192002)

        5.) Jupitor is experiencing the same climate change that Earth is. (source: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/060504_red_j [space.com] r.html) 6.) Mars is experiencing the same climate change that Earth is. (source: http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/ [space.com] mars_snow_011206-1.html)

        Both of these are pretty flimsy. In both cases you've taken a regional warming trend and extrapolated it to an entire planet. You can do the same with Earth: temperatures at the south pole have been declining over recent yea

    • by Jugalator (259273)

      The only extinction I really expect to see is that of the reputations of "scientists" who harp on CO2 emissions when CO2 is a very small part of the overall picture; Methane has a far greater effect, as do many other things.

      Right now yes, but what's being discussed is the CO2 levels at these extinctions and how we may get there one day, along with giving an estimate. The article is not about "oh wow, we're going to die from CO2 level tomorrow" like you seem to imply. If we're going to start seeing more seri

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by 4D6963 (933028)

      we'll cope with whatever comes our way, anyway. We always have; we always will.

      No we haven't. The sixth extinction has started a few centuries ago and there's hardly anything we've done to cope with that, and more and more species are disappearing and there's hardly anything we can do to it. And whatever we do now we're in for a ride to the land of troubles, because as the unfreezing of permafrost and the acidification of the ocean due to its higher concentration in carbon release gigatons of CO2, these n

      • by fyngyrz (762201) *

        No we haven't

        I said "cope", I didn't say "resolve" or "solve". You really need to work on your reading comprehension.

        Oh man how I love to prove people wrong. Volcanoes actually cool down the atmosphere because of the aerosols they spray in the air. That's because of a volcanic eruption that we had a year without a summer

        Well, then again — you'll need to pay considerably better attention. I said "you'll see a temperature swing", I didn't say "you'll see warming." Further, if you'll read

    • ... when CO2 is a very small part of the overall picture; Methane has a far greater effect, as do many other things.

      CO2 is the central climate gas. No, it doesn't have the largest warming effect; water does, nor the largest effect per molecule; SF6 is the current leader with 22,200 times the greenhouse effect of CO2. CO2 is the central climate gas because it is the reason why the Earth's climate has been mostly stable over geologic history.

      CO2 is released by volcanic action, and removed by rock weathe

    • by mspohr (589790)
      Aside from all that, we'll cope with whatever comes our way, anyway. We always have; we always will. Barring asteroid impacts, of course.

      I think you may be a bit naive here. Sure, most of us can compensate for a day that's a bit warmer or colder or wetter than normal and that is all that climate change has given us so far... However, the climate change that is implied by 1000 ppm CO2 is much different in degree (pun intended). How do you cope with ocean levels that rise to inundate most coastal cities

      • How do you cope with ocean levels that rise to inundate most coastal cities?

        That's easy! Just get the Army Corps of engineers to build a levy.
  • by SRA8 (859587) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @06:40AM (#16354023)
    Give up people. Commercia interests are too powerful to care about Global Warming. Heck, they cant manage to fix things that will affect us in 10 to 20 yrs (social security, balooning health care.) Who cares about something truly long term? Please correct me if i'm wrong, but I do think that we're screwed on this one...
    • by LaughingCoder (914424) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @07:39AM (#16354225)
      Commercia[l] interests are too powerful to care about Global Warming.
      This attitude drives me crazy. If a large number of consumers start demanding greener products, some "commercial interest" will supply them. They will do this to gain an advantage over their competitors or a foothold in an entrenched market. Witness hybrid cars. They command a significant price premium over gas-only, yet there are waiting lists to buy them. Most financial analysts say they don't pay back that premium, even at $4/gallon for gas. But yet many people buy them anyhow - because they believe in the cause. And I'm sure they are very profitable as well (that nasty p-word). Those profits help the "commercial interests" to re-invest in even better models and progress is made. What is not helpful is reams of well-meaning government regulations which mostly serve to suffocate innovation, while at the same time, usually having unintended consequences that are more damaging than the problem they were attempting to address.
      • by Belial6 (794905)
        I look at hybrids, and see a class of vehicle that doesn't get close to the gas milage of either my 1989 Geo Metro, or my 1999 Suzuki Swift. Now the hybrids being built are larger than these cars, but as far as I can tell there isn't a vehicle produced today that gets a real world 50 mpg.

        Hybrid owners can chime in if they have different expreience than what I have heard reported on their real world gas milage.
    • Err.. don't you think these mysterious, nefarious, greedy "commercial interests" have some stake in protecting the planet? ie. If the planet is engulfed in flames, or C02, or giant termites from space, how are these nasty businesses going to make money?

      Global climate change is a fact-- human-induced global climate change is an utterly unproven pile of steaming hysteria.

      • by 1u3hr (530656)
        Err.. don't you think these mysterious, nefarious, greedy "commercial interests" have some stake in protecting the planet? ie. If the planet is engulfed in flames, or C02, or giant termites from space, how are these nasty businesses going to make money?

        The owners will already have made their money, and move to gated communities in Aspen, Alaska, Antarctica or wherever while the rest of us fry.

      • by mutterc (828335)
        don't you think these mysterious, nefarious, greedy "commercial interests" have some stake in protecting the planet?

        Of course not. Protecting the planet is way too long-term of a project. Better to have good numbers this quarter, no matter how bad for the company / industry / economy / planet later.

    • In a democracy, nothing can be planned, no plan can be carried out, which takes longer than the electoral cycle.

      Democracy *imposes* a short-term view on civilisation.

      Corporations can afford to take a longer term view; they don't come and go every 4-8 years.
    • Insurance companies are commercial interests.

      Insurance companies are very interested in whether climate change will result in more frequent or more severe hurricanes/wildfires/floods. If they conclude that it will, expect serious pressure from them to change policy.
  • by PhoenixAtlantios (991132) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @06:51AM (#16354049)
    The politicians, their children, and even their children's children will all be dead and long gone by the time the next century ends (2200). If you want them to do something, try pointing out the implications global warming will have before they die.
    • You mean before the next elections, or more accuratelly before the next time their party administration designate them for reellection.
      (The risk of an US Representant or Senator to fail to be reellected is LOWER than it was for a Soviet representent to be thrown out.
    • If you want them to do something...

      If you want to do something? How about instead of waiting for the government to solve this problem people get off their own fat asses and follow their own advice?

      Without consumer support for lower emissions technology there will be no way for corporations to continue on with the R&D it takes to pursue these matters seriously. Well, no way but high subsidies. So people need to put their money where their mouth is. You want to cut emissions; just do it. You'll vote wi
  • Where's the O2? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sensei moreh (868829)
    It's one thing to talk about increased H2S production, but that totally fails to address the question, "where did the O2 go?" The article describes the displacement of dissolved O2 by dissolved H2S in anoxic oceans, which is fine as far as it goes. However, unless large reservoirs of elemental carbon (or CO or CH4) are being oxidized to produce CO2 in large quantities, the result should be an increased atmospheric O2 concentration. Perhaps volcanic activity resulted in such an outpouring of CO2 that it dwar
  • I have been working on a design for an indirect solar power generation system [energytower.org] that can be cost effective, location independent and I believe can be built with a low enough capital investment to compete directly with fossil fuels.

    The idea is to build a standard low gradient heat platform that can be optimized for a geographical location's specific climate and geothermal features. The specific adaptation for arid regions utilizing absorption refrigeration [energytower.org] especially shows promise.

  • Just a thought.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by grishknash (118043) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @07:52AM (#16354281)
    Lots I want to reply to...
    Probably the best source for scientific data and reliable modelling comes from the intergovernmental panel on climate change [ipcc.ch]. The last full report was from 2001 and is fully available on line and for free. I stupidly bought the books. The amount of synthesis of data performed is HUGE and from literally thousands of scientists in the field. It is truly the definitive work in progress. Due to the nature of science and the complex chaotic mechanisms of climate the models cannot be 100% conclusive; however, the four prospective models used have hypothesized the expected changes since 2001 fairly well. The four models assumed different scenarios of human responses to climate change. The four models being a reduction in CO2 emissions, constant increases, moderate increases and large increases in CO2 emissions. The effects of these models are classified according to a likelihood scale and associated percentages. Since the publication of the report, we have had 5 years to compare and contrast the models with reality. The modelling has done quite well. I suggest anyone who is interested read the synthesis report. The rest would take you a year or so to read :)
    Since the report, due to the political tenderness of the topic, if anything, has been underreported and cautiously forwarded. It seems that one area that was underestimated in impact was the positive feedback mechanisms invovled in lost albedo and permafrost thaw. Also, the effects due to water vapor and cloud formation are still difficult to understand and predict.
    As a teacher, I agree that we MUST listen and respond to the experts in the field and not political/religious/uninformed theorists. IE> michael Creighton and his ' State of Fear'. Some of the scientists he interviewed respond to his book at realclimate.org as well as a 'book report' in science magazine. Both are telling of the political nature of the topic.
    Finally, we need to consider the larger manifestitions of 'global warming' with respect to increases in ocean acidity, altered weather patterns with respect to agriculture, etc. It is the unpredicatable spinoffs of global warming/climate change that will threaten society. Lack of food, lack of clean water and the wars associated with future conflicts we need to worry about.
    • While many of your points are good, I wouldn't stress so much about predictions of gloom. It's both safer and more credible to stick to objective assessment of the hard science in this area, which is extensive but doesn't always make the headlines.

      When faced with minimally-informed climate theorists, I like to direct them to Take the Global Warming Test" [geocraft.com]. (Part of an excellent fossils resource.)

      It gives a reasonably accurate scientific picture which non-scientists can comprehend, and most importantly it de
  • Not Human Nature (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ChronoFish (948067) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @08:24AM (#16354419) Journal
    One of things that we have to accept about humans is that they are part of nature. It's not natural for humans (as a population, not necessarily individuals) to restrain themselves.

    What this means (to me) is that the destruction that humans brings (aka man-made) is also natural. It is also natural for humans to destruct to the point of no-return - i.e. humans will use up every last natural-resource until there is no longer a natural-resource to use.

    Whaling and fishing are great examples. The Atlantic Ocean used to have an abundance of (sperm) whales. But the human race killed them off - that didn't stop the whalers of course. Rather than realizing the impact and looking for alternatives, they setup long complex shipping routes. Boats from Nantucket (North Eastern US) would set sail and round Argentina (South America) and then exploit the waters of Hawaii and Singapore in the Pacific. Eventually killing off the whales there as well.

    The reason for hunting whales? Primarily whale blubber -which was boiled down to oil - which was used as a power source. Eventually the stock of sperm whales dried up in the pacific as well - forcing humans to come up with an alternative - which they did (petrol) - thereby officially killing the whaling industry. (Sure Japan is still at it - but mostly for the meat which focus on other types of whales).

    The point is that humans will not restrain themselves or conserve (with some notable exceptions of course) their natural resources. And this is a natural part of human nature - which is part of nature.

    So yeah - we are doomed to repeat the process (there are countless examples) and the end result is that we will wipe ourselves out. But that is part of nature - to thrive until starvation. Every population does it. Name one animal that does not gorge themselves - even if it means death to the species.....

    -CF

    • Answer, none. ALL animals establish equilibrium with their environment.

      If pathetic short sighted people like you become the only voice out there the human race is indeed #ucked. If however, more rational voices and policies can be established, there is hope yet. We have about 100 years to save this planet, I don't see how that is impossible.

      Ofcourse, you'll probably be dead by then anyway. Lung cancer from too much smob mb?...

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ChronoFish (948067)
        The key there is "wild". You're right, you rarely see "wild" obese animals. Although the hippo - which has few natural predators and normally an abundance of food - may come close. Same with the adult walrus.

        What you do see is animals gorging themselves in summer and sleeping it off in winter (we have some damn-fat squirrels in this area). Or you see animals gorging themselves and converting that energy into extremely powerful muscle.

        Humans not only gorge themselves, but they also sit and watch TV.

        Any a
    • Whale oil was NOT a significant power source; it was not economically viable for that use. It was used for lighting and as a lubricant; other whale parts were used for clothing, food, and toiletries. Coal and wood were far more economical power sources, and also petroleum starting about 1900. Think about the huge amount of labor that goes into catching and processing a whale, compare that to cutting down a tree or mining coal.
  • Here's something that describes a theory and experiements by danish scientists. The statement that it is only in the US that people is arguing the global warming because of the oil industry is simply false and an easy way to discredit the research done by those who you do not agree with.

    These guys aren't saying that CO2 might not be one of the causes but that it might not be the biggest cause.

    source: http://denmark.dk/portal/page?_pageid=374,931599&_ dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL [denmark.dk]

    "Results from
  • Yes, global warming is happening. Certainly the current fossil-based goin-on-all-guns economy isn't helping matters. Nuclear energy appears to be an appealing emmissions-free alternative. But, is it really?

    1- Claims of greenhouse reductions made by nuclear power generation supporters focus primarily on only one aspect of the entire process, namely the power generation cycle, which gives off nearly no greenhouse emissions, while downplaying or ignoring greenhouse gas emissions throughout the remainder o

  • ...as seen over the last 500 million years.

    Both the temperature and CO2-levels are at an all time low value.
    And the correlation between temperature and CO2 is very weak at best.

    If You look at the diagram http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/PageMill_Images/ image277.gif [geocraft.com] over the last 500+ million yers of CO2-levels and temperature You will maybe get the impression that the humanitys CO2-production is not the main climate factor.
  • by Orp (6583) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @12:10PM (#16355773) Homepage
    Global warming is real. The data is clear.

    Global warming is indeed due to greenhouse gas emissions, and not some natural cycle.

    If we keep a business-as-usual approach to emissions, climate change will be dramatic and catastrophic for many.

    This is what virtually all climate scientists believe (and by "believe" I mean "have concluded from painstaking scientific research involving paleoclimatology, basic therodynamics, oceanography" etc...). Not "believe" as in "I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster."

    I can't tell you how much it frustrates me as a scientists that more people can't see the obvious. I believe (heh) it is due to an overwhelming lack of people exercising critical, scientific thought.

    The truth is, unless you at least have a basic understanding of atmospheric radiation theory, you really have no place arguing about the effect of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

    Let me put it this way: It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever that increasing greenhouse gas emissions would *not* lead to a shift in the earth's radiative equilibrium temperature (related to global average temperature). If there were too many negatives in that sentence, I'll put it this way: Global warming is no surprise, it is physics in action.

    Pick up any intro meteorology college texbtook - there are several - and read the chapter on radiation and climate change. And climate feedback mechanisms. And the thermohaline circulation. And then argue against global warming being forced by greenhouse gas emissions. I'd love to hear a decent argument which wasn't politically motivated or based upon selective omission of the research on this topic.

    I have grown weary of trying to get people to do a small amount of basic science research so that they may use their own goddammed heads and draw a scientifically based conclusion about climate change rather than re-spew crap they heard from some douchebag whose politics aligns with their own. This includes you too Lefties/greenies: Do some homework. If you are right for the wrong resons, you're not helping things. Educate yourself scientifically. Everyone.

    Think, people, think. It seems that precious few people (well here in America) do much of this any more.

    And yes, I have a PhD in meteorology.
  • Make things up in the present! Here is our best understanding [park.org] of causes of the past mass extinctions:

    • Precambrian/Vendian - widespread glaciation
    • Cambrian - Cooling and depletion of oxygen in marine waters
    • Early Orduvician - Glaciation
    • Devonian - global cooling, similar to the event which is thought to have cause the late Ordovician mass extinction
    • Permian - global widespread cooling and/or worldwide lowering of sea level Cretaceous - Meteorite, cooling climate disruption

    There has never been an extinct

  • I'll be extinct by then.
  • by fm6 (162816) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @02:33PM (#16356853) Homepage Journal

    ...is just a con to get the federal government to adopt fuel efficiency standards. That will force people to drive smaller cars, which will force them to have smaller families. It's just a conspiracy to impose involuntary birth control by a bunch of latte-swilling liberals who hate children!

    Sounds like I'm flamebaiting, right? But that's pretty much the party line with the Eagle Forum crowd.

  • by Jon Luckey (7563) on Sunday October 08, 2006 @05:18PM (#16358061)
    Great be;ching clouds of H2S, eh.

    I suppose in that scenario, Mankinds final words should be

    "He who smell't it dealt it!

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department

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