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Melting Arctic Ice Has Consequences 466

Posted by kdawson
from the darn-it-I-really-liked-polar-bears dept.
OriginalArlen writes to tell us about some compelling global warming coverage in the Washington Post. First there is an article about a study indicating that melting Arctic ice is threatening polar bears with extinction. The article quotes an environmentalist: "This study is the smoking gun. Skeptics, polluting industries and President Bush can't run away from this one." And the polar melting is opening new shipping lanes. The second article details a trip late in October through the Northwest Passage by a Canadian icebreaker. Never before in history could this trip have been accomplished so late in the year; ice would have choked off the passage. Estimates of when the passage might be navigable by commercial shipping range from 2020 to the end of the century. The indigeneous people are not looking forward to this development.
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Melting Arctic Ice Has Consequences

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  • Re: How dare they! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by transporter_ii (986545) * on Sunday November 05, 2006 @06:39PM (#16728841) Homepage
    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2006-09-13 -hottest-summer_x.htm [usatoday.com]

    The USA sweated this year through its hottest summer in 70 years, with temperatures not seen since the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, according to a government report.

    From June 1 to Aug. 31, as summer is defined by the National Climatic Data Center, the continental USA had an average temperature of 74.5 degrees, based on readings from hundreds of weather stations nationwide. It was the second-hottest summer temperature the government has recorded since it started keeping track in 1895. The only one warmer -- by about two-tenths of a degree -- was in 1936.

    Ok, seriously, what made it so hot back in 1936? Was it just a natural occurrence, or was it man made way back then?

    Transporter_ii

  • Re:Who's the troll? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kimvette (919543) on Sunday November 05, 2006 @07:08PM (#16729079) Homepage Journal
    Simple.

    The US has entrenched technology that will take decades if not centuries to phase out; coal and oil fired power plants, internal combustion engines for automobiles, oil, natural gas, and coal heat for homes, and so forth.

    China has a great opportunity to go electric across the board from the get-go, using nuclear power and solar power. Their infrastructure is still immature, and as such there is no huge investment in existing power to speak of. I'm sure that the folks working in agriculture are still using wood, peat, or coal for heat, and have not spent thousands on oil-fired central heating systems for their homes; why not go electric from the beginning? Then emissions controls can be centralized, and their choice for petrol-vs.-nuke-vs.-wind can be made now. What's more, if so-called environmentalists who really are all about "NIMBY" can't block this development like they can here with their bleeding heart "think of the children" whining. (sorry about that last comment, I'm just really bitter about so-called environmentalist dropping the cape wind project in Nantucket Sound, especially that drunkard Ted Kennedy who claims to be an environmentalist)
  • Re:Who's the troll? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by c6gunner (950153) on Sunday November 05, 2006 @07:27PM (#16729245)
    Because while the US may have higher emissions per-capita, their ratio of emissions vs energy produced is a lot LOWER than a country like China. Now, while there is a bit of room for decreasing energy consumption in the western world through things like more efficient fridges and light bulbs, the fact of the matter is that any modern society is going to require massive amounts of energy. The US or any other modern country could never bring their emissions as low as China simply because much of China doesn't even have electricity yet. As China continues to grow and modernize itself, we'll all be VERY lucky if they manage to keep their per-capita emissions below US levels. And the most likely way to make that happen isn't by taxing the shit out of western business to pay for "emission control", but by putting more funding into researching alternative energy generation and storage methods. That way, by the time China's industry goes into full swing, we'll have alternatives to offer them instead of having them rely on coal and oil. Kyoto's pretty much useless. You want to reduce global emissions? Set realistic standards for countries to meet, and then impose penalty fees if they don't meet them. Then take those penalty fees and funnel them into alternate fuels research. Fund everything from solar cells and more efficient batteries to hydrogen engines, to nuclear plants and fusion research. Hell, since the UN is pretty good at administration (if nothing else) get them to set up a research facility and extend invitations to the leading scientists in those fields. With all western nations participating you could have nearly unlimited funding. The modern (and more productive) version of the Manhattan project. Kyoto right now is nothing more than a wealth-redistribution campaign to move funds from western nations to the third world, and help us feel like we're "doing something". If we really want to reduce emissions, let's get serious.
  • by uncadonna (85026) <mtobis@gmail. c o m> on Monday November 06, 2006 @01:46AM (#16731843) Homepage Journal
    I am an environmental scientist. As such I cannot be held responsible for what any political party does.

    The word "environmentalist" makes me cringe, though not as much as the word "anti-environmentalist" does, I'll admit. I am just doing my part to explain the difference between the facts and the noise that is injected by people with many billions of dollars of fossil fuel assets that they are motivated to protect.

    However, you are right that I do dismiss the contemporary crop of "global warming skeptics".

    I dismiss "global warming skeptics" because they are incoherent and wrong and well-funded by non-scientific interests. If there weren't a lot of money at stake the skeptics would vanish. They don't have a coherent theory. If they did, they would get a hearing in scientific circles. They don't, so they are busy running around looking scientific for the press, and taking in people who are philosophically uncomfortable with the implications of the science.

    Fifteen years ago there were interesting arguments against taking action. Now all the arguments are based on wishful thinking. I haven't seen an argument against restraining net carbon emissions with any "merits" for some considerable time, and it is not for want of looking.

    I am sure you would not like some of my political opinions, but I am not discussing my politics in this thread. You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts.

"It's curtains for you, Mighty Mouse! This gun is so futuristic that even *I* don't know how it works!" -- from Ralph Bakshi's Mighty Mouse

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