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Comment The issue is way too political (Score 1) 961

This is one of those scientific issues that has become so political that it is extremely difficult to believe anyone. The generally accepted consensus, at least in the political and mainstream media circles seems to be that AGW is real and the warming will be catastrophic if nothing is done. A number of theories have been proposed that correlate much better with climatic data and/or make more sense than the consensus view. Please remember that consensus is a political term and applying it to science is a tricky business, especially with a system as complex as a planetary climate.

One could argue (for example) that gravity is supported by the scientific consensus, and therefore a scientific consensus is relevant to science, but gravity is a directly observable and a relatively simple thing, and it has been repeatedly verified by observations. This, however, does not preclude the possibility that the current theory of gravity is in some way flawed. If a scientist stumbles upon such a thing and can demonstrate an experiment to support his hypothesis, and especially if someone can replicate that result, I am pretty sure that the scientific community would jump at the chance to improve (or even throw away and remake) the prevailing theory.

There is no such desire when it comes to the theory of AGW, or even just GW. The current view is set in stone and any alternate theories are shunned as heresy, ad-hominems fly all around (from both sides), such that instead of focusing on the competing theory either the credentials, funding sources or the publishing paper are criticized. Peer review has been corrupted at least to a point (skeptical papers have more difficulty getting accepted, while papers supporting the consensus view are not as critically reviewed). The science suffers because of a political need to be right, and because it is feared that considering alternative theories might hinder the political will to do something.

This politicization makes it difficult for me to believe that the 5 or so vindications of Mann are legitimate, that the important questions were asked etc. This, however, is mostly irrelevant since it is the science that is important, not who produced it. These inquiries are in no way relevant to the climate science, and I do not care one way or the other about whether Mann is guilty or not. Of course the taxpayers who fund him might be interested, but again it is irrelevant to the science.

While irrelevant to this specific topic (is Mann guilty or not), I'd like to point out that due to China's (and other emerging economies) heavy urbanization any attempts at reducing the CO2 emissions in the west are pure folly, because even if the entire western world ceased to exist right after me making this post, China's industrial development alone would take the global CO2 emissions back to the current level in less than 10 years. Going into the science is useless here at Slashdot, because of the aforementioned politicization (having a scientific argument about a politically sensitive subject on an open forum is about as productive as stabbing oneself in the eye).

Here is a picture illustrating the point rather well, taken from a lecture by Professor Richard Muller.
Here is a link to the presentation for those with more patience.

In light of this, I propose that reducing CO2 emissions is an economic suicide for the west, and focus should be turned from prevention to adaptation especially considering the uncertainties and alternative theories surrounding the science, of which at least one is supported by CERN's CLOUD experiment.

Comment Re:And we know this because...? (Score 1) 473

Rough quantative analysis (or common sense) is a good tool indeed to check whether results are reasonable. Unfortunately in a complex chaotic system where everything is linked, one needs to be very careful not to oversimplify. In my comment I was referring to the fact that Stefan-Boltzmann only lets you approximate the entire greenhouse effect in Kelvins. To attribute any parts of it to specific greenhouse gases you need more information, and due to the overlap in absorption frequencies, there are only rough estimates.

As far as feedbacks are concerned, they are everything to the CO2-induced global warming theory. Alone CO2 is a weak trace gas with very little potential for further warming. The theory relies on feedbacks (most notably water vapour feedback) to enhance the small warming generated by CO2 itself. So if we assumed that CO2 forcing per doubling were 0.3 degrees, the water vapour feedback would then bring it to 1.5 or more per doubling (these are just random numbers to illustrate my point). Therefore any uncertainties in estimating these feedbacks will have a drastic effect on the simple quantative analysis as well, and for example wrt clouds it isn't certain whether the feedback is positive or not. Models assume it is positive, but there is no solid evidence for that (of course it might be positive, but currently it is just an assumption).

My main point that others have made as well was that solar irradiance is not the only aspect of Sun's effect on Earth's atmosphere and thus climate.

Comment Re:And we know this because...? (Score 1) 473

You are oversimplifying things. The direct solar irradiance is not the only variable here and I'm sure noone knowledgeable would claim that it alone can cause major changes in Earth's temperature. I know of at least two theories that suggest that changes in solar activity can have a secondary effect on Earth's cloud cover, causing a larger response than the change in total solar irradiance does.

The first one is of course the theory about cosmic rays and their influence in enhancing cloud generation. The proposed method is simple, cosmic radiation hitting the atmosphere causes ionization which in turn causes more aerosols that increase cloud cover. Increased solar activity via increased solar wind reduces the amount of cosmic rays that hit the atmosphere, hence indirectly causing the change. This theory is far from proven, and the biggest question is whether or not the GCRs can cause a large enough change to affect the cloud cover in a way that has an effect on the climate.

A second theory that I know of also has to do with cloud cover, but this one involves UV rays. While solar irradiance does not change more than 1% on average, the intensity on the UV band can change as much as over 10%. Here's a link to a more detailed description, but in short, changes in UV intensity cause changes in the cirrus cloud flux through its absorption on ozone.

Both are theories, and since there's a correlation between solar activity and Earth's climate, it is possible that either of those turns out to be valid (or both invalid). Both are reliant on Sun's indirect changes on cloud cover, and clouds are one of the largest mysteries wrt climate that there currently is in climate science. Do clouds cause a positive or negative feedback? Before that can be answered somwhat reliably claiming certainty on continued global warming or the onset of an ice age is, at best, premature.

Another part I take exception to is your claim that the Stefan-Boltzmann law can be used to estimate Earth's temperature dependence on CO2. Granted, it can be used to get an accurate estimate of the effect of the entire greenhouse effect, but since there are many unknowns wrt feedbacks, claiming that the CO2 forcing (with feedbacks) can be estimated anywhere near accurately is false.

Comment Re:Nuclear power is not safe. (Score 1) 964

Chernobyl was not human error, it was deliberate sabotage in the most Soviet way imaginable in a reactor that was inherently unsafe. As for Fukushima, the only global effect it has had is political, and even though the local effects within around 20km or so can be considered hazardous, it's a far cry from a serious disaster like the earthquake that caused the problems. It's only a serious disaster from the standpoint of nuclear reactor safety, not from the standpoint of environment (except perhaps for the very short term, like weeks) or human health. Most of the radioactive particles released have a short half-life (Mainly Iodine-131 at 8 days) which means that the radioactivity will go down relatively quickly.

In the long run deaths from Fukushima will likely number in the single digits, if not at exactly 0, and considering that the nuclear plant itself was obsolete and not designed to withstand the kind of disaster it faced, I consider that a testament to the safety of nuclear power.

"Local effects that will last for billions of years" is trollish bs, and now that I'm writing this I have the feeling that I have been feeding one.

Comment Natural variation, anyone? (Score 1) 654

It's curious that most of the comments here immediately attribute the "abnormal" warmth in Greenland to either AGW or simply climate change. What the article states is actually blindingly obvious, because of the blocking high over Greenland and eastern Canada in addition to the rather strong El Niño in the beginning of 2010.

The exact same blocking high phenomenon caused the heat wave in northern Europe this summer as well as the unusually cold period in Nov/Dec. Melting glaciers are not in themselves abnormal and very few local phenomena like this one can scientifically be attributed to AGW (or climate change for that matter).

Oh and for the "zomg sea levels are going to rise we need to evacuate all coastal regions!!1111" crowd, I recommend taking a look at the graphs at wikipedia. I know wikipedia is about as scientific a source as voodoo, but the climate change articles seem to be mostly controlled by pro-AGW people so you can usually pick up the plausible-sounding worst-case scenarios there. 18-31 cm of sea level rise in a century doesn't sound like a problem to me. Anything more than that would require an exponential increase in warming, which is not happening at least for now, since the global temperatures have plateaued for the last 10 or so years. If global warming happens to speed up for whatever reason, then feel free to worry, but worrying about it now is just silly.

Comment Is CO2 really such a problem? (Score 1) 221

I mean has anyone ever considered the cost-benefit of massive CO2 reductions? It is painfully obvious how western technologically advanced civilization is dependant on cheap, reliable and extensive power generation in the form of electricity. Since the beginning of industrialization that has been (and actually still is) fossil fuels. What would happen if all that cheap power generation capacity was replaced with expensive and unreliable wind/solar/tidal power generation capacity? Just as a hint, I recommend you take a look at what massive deployment of wind and solar has done to electricity prices in Spain and what kind of money has been thrown at it in the form of government subsidies.

Now, this is not to say that renewables may not a viable option in the future, I am just saying that with the technology that we have and with the limitations that those power generation methods have, investing in green power is an economical suicide as well as ruinous to the entire concept of western well-being and societal development. As price of electricity goes up, the standards of living and quality of life will decrease and industry will start moving to a country that seems to have a more reasonable take on the role of energy in society (read: China). I can almost see the Chinese political elite dying of laughter as they distantly observe the western society ruin itself with our eco-madness.

Next, let's look at the properties of CO2 itself. It is a trace gas, harmless to humans in concentrations of less than 1% (10000 ppm) and enhances plant growth. The only negative thing about it currently is the theory that it is the sole cause of the last 100 or so years of warming and that the warming is self-reinforcing (more CO2 warms the climate, which releases more CO2, which warms the climate more ad infinitum). It is curious why none or very little of the warming is generally attributed to natural causes or cycles, especially since in the last 10 years the rate of warming has plateaued to about +-0 degrees. As far as I understand it, even though a short interval in climatological timescales, this throws a serious wrench in the theory of ever-increasing warming due to CO2.

Another thing to consider is the 2-degree value that has been arbitrarily picked as the threshold value of warming that we should try to avoid. Why 2 degrees and not 1 or 3? Who's to say 4 degrees of warming won't be beneficial and increase the amount of farmland? Doesn't warmer climate mean higher moisture capacity and perhaps more rain? I am far from convinced that 2 degrees is some kind of magical value that we should try to stay under, especially at any cost.

And finally, nature is always changing. Why should the current state of nature be any better than a warmer one? Why does the theoretical man-made warming necessarily make nature a worse place and the planet worse off than without it? As an example, many times I hear the number of extinct species per day quoted as some kind of number to be sorry for. As species are destroyed, be it naturally or caused by humans, new (or old) ones will take their place and nature will evolve as it always has. It can of course be argued that chopping rain forests for profit is immoral and perhaps even criminal, but attempting to justify those opinions on irrelevant statistics or FUD of the destruction of Earth is nothing more than intellectual dishonesty and should be pointed out as such.

Comment Re:Politics And Science Don't Mix (Score 1) 293

Depends what you mean by "catastrophic", really. Drier weather in inhabited areas causing water to run low? Hurricanes? Floods? Ocean level rises?

Global warming (or cooling for that matter) that impacts nature or human civilization severely in an overall negative way (whatever the actual effects are). I could go into a discussion about whether or not some effects are caused by global warming or not, but suffice to say it's important to consider all likely causes instead of just branding any environment-related anomalies as results of global warming. Could be does not mean is.

And where did you get the idea that the models don't use cloud cover? The ones I've stepped through in grad classes definitely do. The modeling is crude, to be sure, but it's in there. If it's not precise enough for you, say so, but how precise do you demand it be then?

Poor choice of words there, but my main point was that cloud cover modeling on average is off by more than 10% of observed values. This is significant, since very small changes in cloud cover could explain all of the recent warming all by itself. There's also the problem of whether cloud cover overall is a positive or a negative feedback. I believe models assume it is positive, but to my knowledge there isn't a strong scientific basis for that.

There's also the secondary issue of whether climate models are at all fit for long-term forecasting. Weather forecasts become extremely unreliable after only a few days, yet climate models are trusted to predict climate decades or even centuries away. On top of that the instrumental record of temperatures is not nearly long enough to validate the results of climate models, so basing anything on the models alone seems overly optimistic to me. Anyone with some maths ability can make a set of parameters fit an existing curve and make predictions about the curve aka extrapolate. There's also the issue of climate modeling being an iterative process, in which errors in earlier iterations get amplified by further iterations, decreasing accuracy the further into the future one goes.

It is a pollutant. We're churning it out and it has a negative effect. It doesn't have to directly harm humans to be a pollutant. Look at fertilizer run-off. You're bending the definition of the word to suit your desire.

And what about the CO2 that already existed before humans even were here? Should we classify that as a pollutant as well and make it our mission to eliminate as much of it from the atmosphere as possible? What is the cutoff point for when CO2 becomes harmful enough to warrant expenditure to limit its emission? What about increased CO2 levels benefiting plant life and agriculture, should we just ignore that? As far as warming as a negative effect goes, remember that I am of the opinion that most warming in the last 100 years are due to natural causes, and only a small portion due to AGW. Besides, who's to say a warmer Earth is not more suitable for life than the current one?

Ocean acidification. It's happening, it's killing animals right now. So your absolute statement isn't accurate. You might not have encountered harmful outcomes of CO2 rises, but they exist. There was a nice piece in The American Scientist a month or few ago about it, in fact.

I believe I mentioned in my comment that I know of the ocean acidification theory. I would have very much liked a source for your claim about it already killing animals, since from what I've been able to read about it it is still just a theory and it is uncertain whether a small pH decrease will negatively affect marine life in a hundred years, let alone now. If you have knowledge of some articles or papers on the subject, I'd very much like to take a look at them to see if the theory has gained any certainty.

Anyway perhaps my statement was a bit too absolute, but since the negative impact of ocean acidification is still to my knowledge (I may be wrong, but I can't assume I am without some further evidence) uncertain and CO2-induced warming is relatively minor based on science, I can't in good conscience call CO2 a pollutant. The best label I can attach to it is plant food.

Comment Re:Politics And Science Don't Mix (Score 1) 293

And no, it's not really an ad hominem attack to label them "deniers". Just because a negative word fits doesn't make it a logical fallacy any more than calling a convicted felon a "felon" is an ad hominem.

My point was that it is used way too broadly and most of the times I've seen it used it has been to stifle further argument (even when the argument is reasonable). Very few people actually deny the scientific aspects and many pro-AGW people I've seen arguing on the internet seem to take it as a personal insult if someone does not agree with their view.

Therefore I cannot believe in catastrophic warming, since there is no proof for it.

Of course there isn't. There's never proof, this is science. Eventually, it may happen. But it'll be a little late. This is rather like saying you don't believe the hurricane will strike your coast because there's no proof. Sure, but if the forecasts show a high probability, you may still want to act.

That's just the thing, I haven't seen any convincing evidence that catastrophic global warming is very likely, or indeed, at all possible to happen. All of those catastrophic climate forecasts are based on models which do not account for cloud cover for example, which makes their predictive value highly suspect. They have failed to predict the last 10 years of stable temperature for one. As far as hurricanes are concerned, those have struck many coasts so there is plenty of empirical evidence for the possibility. Catastrophic global warming, on the other hand, would be unprecedented.

Please do not call CO2 a pollutant or a health risk since it is not one. A vast majority of the real pollutants that fossil energy generation generates are currently filtered out in the western world and the air quality has improved a lot since the industrial revolution because of that. Therefore I classify arguments based on "poisoning the planet" to be silly and alarmist.

Are you arguing that because we're filtering other pollutants, CO2 can't be a pollutant? That makes no sense at all.

My point with that was that many times news and people confuse the issue of global warming (CO2) and harmful emissions by portraying CO2 as a harmful pollutant. The only potentially harmful aspect of CO2 to humans or nature in general is the theory that it might cause harmful levels of warming. I think that there's nothing wrong with attempting to limit harmful emissions in a reasonable way, which is what the western world has been doing for decades already. It should not be confused with the issue of AGW, however, since it just confuses the argument and at least makes me think that the person does not know what they're talking about or that they are just riding the AGW horse to push their own green agenda and way of life.

In short, higher CO2 concentrations enhance plant growth and only extremely high levels of CO2 are directly harmful to humans or animals. Extremely high in this context means around one percent, which equals 10000 parts per million. Therefore without the theory of catastrophic CO2-induced AGW the effects of increased CO2 concentration are only beneficial and therefore CO2 can't really be called a pollutant. I am also well aware of the ocean acidification theory, but there's no clear evidence on whether the small pH changes will have any noticeable effect at all.

Comment Re:Politics And Science Don't Mix (Score 1) 293

No, to deny merely means to refuse to accept the claim regardless of what evidence has been put forward. The word makes not assumptions as to whether the claim is true or untrue. It's possible to disagree with AGW without being a denier, but such a person would be open to the possibility of it being accurate.

Denier is a cheap label which in itself is an ad hominem attack and an attempt to discredit without proper arguments. While it may be accurate with some AGW skeptics, it is used in my opinion way too broadly and in any case has no place in a civilized argument where the merits of both positions are being argued.

These people are certainly deniers. Their counter-claims have little validity (most have none and many are outright fabrications) and most of their arguments lately have been ad hominem attacks on the researchers. So far, I have yet to see one of them acknowledge the strength of the data or admit to having made a mistake when they were shown to be wrong. They're deniers, pure and simple.

I'd like clarification on the "these people" you're referring to since it isn't clear from the post. If you're referring to all AGW skeptics, that's just a silly ad hominem attack and makes you just as much a denier as you make the AGW skeptics out to be. Nevertheless, allow me to provide mathematical proof right away that not all skeptics are deniers: myself.

To sum my view on climate change in general, let me provide a list:

  • Originally I was unsure that the CO2 concentration rise has been due to human activities. Having looked into the matter, I am now relatively sure that humans are indeed causing the CO2 rise experienced in the last 100 years or so.
  • I also agree that the average global temperature in the last 100 years or so has risen by something like 0.7-1 degrees celcius.
  • What I do not think has been proven at all is the link between the CO2 rise and the rise in temperatures. This is however not of great concern if we're talking about the possible impacts of warming and whether something should be done about it or not.
  • Whatever the source of warming, the current theory on AGW requires that there be a sufficiently strong positive feedback (or feedbacks) in order for the warming to become "catastrophic" or even a severe nuisance. These have not been definitively identified as of yet, and whether clouds are a positive or a negative feedback is still pretty much an open question. Therefore I cannot believe in catastrophic warming, since there is no proof for it.
  • As far as whether anything can or should be done about the current warming cycle, in my view the best thing that could be done is to wait and see what happens in the next decade or so. If preventative measures were free or even moderately cheap, I might agree that they could be tried right away. However, all proposed "solutions" to the issue that may not even exist (that is, an overall negative effect caused by warming) are prohibitively expensive, may not work and will ruin technological and economical development for sure.
  • Please do not call CO2 a pollutant or a health risk since it is not one. A vast majority of the real pollutants that fossil energy generation generates are currently filtered out in the western world and the air quality has improved a lot since the industrial revolution because of that. Therefore I classify arguments based on "poisoning the planet" to be silly and alarmist.
  • I am open to criticism and if you think my position is in some way erroneous, please point it out to me with proper arguments. Currently all arguments about climate change seem to degenerate into shouting matches in which neither participant listens to the other.

Comment Re:"Undeniable" (Score 1) 1657

Just in case anyone is interested, this is the graph you can be looking at. It's from the same data set, and though it begins in 1880, the spike does not occur until 1950.

You can also look at reconstructed data here that shows that the current temperature spike lies outside of the Medieval Warming period. Claims that the Northwest Passage was open at that time are unverified. There isn't any archaeological evidence for any European seafaring past certain points in modern Canada.

What about the spike from 1910 up until about 1940? It's just as steep as the one from 1960 onwards. Noone is denying warming, it's how strong the causal link with CO2 is that's being questioned and whether or not the warming will be an issue. As far as the Northwest Passage claims go, those are not evidence of anything either. Ice melt around the northern latitudes is more dependant on wind factors than actual temperature, since it's below freezing almost all year around (wind pushes the ice to lower latitudes where it can actually melt).

Your graph also shows about 0.8 degrees of warming from 1910 to present, hardly something to be so alarmed about. If that trend continues, we're looking at a total of 1.6 degrees by 2100. Hardly the kind of catastrophic values that everyone in the alarmist camp is peddling. As far as the proxy graph goes, I'd have to take a look at the actual methodology in the studies because I do not trust graphs like that. I am sure you are painfully aware of the hockey stick generator Mann built that generates hockey stick shapes even from random noise and then used that as evidence.

This simply means that any species that can't adapt may die out(if a change that small even necessitates adaptation), but they will be replaced by species that can live in that environment. Why this is considered to be catastrophic or even bad I do not understand.

Because our current way of life is very dependent on the current food chain, and some of us don't want to have a toxic lifeless soup for an ocean. Oysters in particular serve as filters, and are necessary to keep tidal creeks functioning. Corals are also a vital part of the shallow ocean ecosystem.

Here we go with alarmism again. Most of our food supply comes from farming and raising livestock, not from oysters. Are you suggesting that all fish will disappear within a hundred years? No? Your claim about oceans becoming toxic soup is funny as well, would you care to provide some form of evidence to support it? I'd also like some form of science to support that corals are being threatened by the current warming or ocean acidification or whatever it is you think they are being threatened by.

You're confusing CO2-induced warming and CO2-induced health effects in that argument.

I was pointing out that too much of anything is pollution.

And I was pointing out that CO2 will never reach levels that are anywhere near to actual pollution (which I define as emissions directly affecting human health, such as small particle emissions).

There's also a saying I heard somewhere: "Lack of food kills you in weeks, lack of water kills you in days, but lack of warmth can kill you in hours."

There's also a saying: this is the 21st Century, and very few people die of simple exposure. Humans that die in the winter are people whose immune systems fail to protect them from communicable diseases that are more prevalent when everyone's immune system is weakened. Any variation in weather will present the same seasonal death rate - that's why the curve is the same from Greece to Norway. So the equatorial states have little variation, but that's due to the lack of weather changes, not due to the heat.

There are no variations with water supply. If you don't have access to clean water and sanitation, you're going to be very sick, and probably dead.

Yeah, while the saying emphasises exposure, the amount of winter deaths is well in excess of summer deaths, mainly due to cold compromising the immune system as well as excasperating respitory illnesses and such. The point was that this is a simple example of why a warmer world would be better for humans, up to a point at least.

Anyway, enough of reality. Go back to blogging against those evil scientists, whose plot to Destroy America will surely succeed if they aren't thwarted by your amazing intellect.

I'd like to think that my arguments were pretty realistic, and you glossed over many of them in your replies. I can only assume that you agree with me on those. As far as scientists being evil, that is hardly true. There may be nothing nefarious going on, scientists peddling catastrophic climate change may well truly believe what they are saying, but a scientist is not automatically right and neither are the conclusions they draw. Anyone who uses the scientific method to validate a theory is a scientist. Blind trust in any kind of scientists is stupid, when a theory is valid or invalid it does not matter whether the person who came up with it is a scientist or not. Focus on what the scientists provide in the way of science, not on what they themselves believe. Science is not some kind of dark art that only a small club of top scientists can understand.

Comment Re:"Undeniable" (Score 1) 1657

It's good that we agree on something. It should be noted, however, that there has been a flat line in global temperature for the last 10 or so years. While this is insignificant as an indicator of anything, it should be noted that the models that are used for all projections failed to predict this.

Careful... that line worked in 2008, but not in 2010. 1998 is a useful year for selection bias.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/5951409.cms Following the release of global temperature data which revealed April of 2010 was the hottest April ever and that this year so far has been warmest on record, Nasa has said global temperatures have been steadily rising since the late 1970s with no significant let-up in the trend.

Interesting. Looking at the Nasa GISS temperature graphs, they seem to disagree with themselves, see here. Your point about selection bias is correct, but I was not claiming that global warming has stopped, I was claiming that the models used for all kinds of funky predictions about the future temperatures failed to predict the 10-year flatline(what happens next is anyone's guess). I should probably also point out that choosing the year 1880 can also be seen as selection bias, since the Little Ice Age ended right about then, so increasing temperatures is only natural after an extended cooling like that. Without context, graphs beginning at 1880 also provide a nice upward slope all the way to the present, save for the "small" dive at around 1950.

I also think it's curious that you choose to use an article in the Times of India as proof, instead of pointing to the data that they draw their conclusions from. Climate science is so politicized that everything on the Internet having to do with it should be taken with a truckload of salt, whether it agrees with your position or not.

I'm sorry, what? I'd like to know how you link a few years of poor oyster harvesting to global warming, so please quote some kind of source.

Using google is really not that difficult. (Further down the article downplays the link, but that's business press for you.)

http://seattle.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2010/06/28/story1.html Young oysters seem to be dying in their swimming larval stage because the slightly acidic seawater is dissolving their shells from the outside faster than they can grow, Kaufman said. The breeding cycle has failed for each of the past four years, he said.

Using google runs into the problem I outlined above. Using google to find a business journal article that suggests ocean acidification as a reason for poor harvest of oysters, even if "some scientists" think so, is anecdotal and not evidence of anything. As the guy later on in that article says, the problem is not unprecedented and is likely caused by entirely natural factors.

Same goes for the coral statement. Ocean acidification is a scary-sounding theory, but whether it will have any major ill-effects is pretty much an open question.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification Research has already found that corals, coccolithophore algae, coralline algae, foraminifera, shellfish and pteropods experience reduced calcification or enhanced dissolution when exposed to elevated CO2.

Uh-huh. I also experience increased perspiration when subjected to higher temperatures. I should also point out that using wikipedia as a source in any highly political issue is pretty futile, since one side will always highjack any articles having to do with it, even if attempts are made to avoid it. The wikipedia article also seems to suggest that so far the pH has not decreased by more than 0.1, which is pretty negligible. Different parts of the ocean also have different pH values, and there may be as much as 0.5 of difference. I also understand the "but if you decrease pH by 0.1, then the overall range decreases by 0.1!" argument. This simply means that any species that can't adapt may die out(if a change that small even necessitates adaptation), but they will be replaced by species that can live in that environment. Why this is considered to be catastrophic or even bad I do not understand.

Heat waves are weather and are caused by natural variability. Same goes for blizzards, neither is proof of anything.

When the variability starts marching away from known records, then the climate is changing beyond it's known natural cycles. El Nino weather patterns and other variables of course come into play, but hey, you got to pretend you were thinking for a second.

The Medieval Warm Period was likely at least as warm as the global temperature is presently. I'd also like to make another reference to the Little Ice Age above, I bet people living in 1850s were pretty scared considering that the world had been quite a lot warmer for several centuries before that. Therefore your argument about "known records" is pretty silly. Of course it's worth it to raise an eyebrow if it seems that the climate is going beyond its previous known maximum variability, but going for the kind of catastrophic scenarios as you did is not yet warranted and amounts to little else than scare tactics.

As far as your claim about the Arctic, I believe the scariest guess so far has been ice-free by 2015. All of those "predictions"(guesses) are based on models that ignore significant aspects of the inner workings of Earth's climate, most notably changes in cloud cover.

The Northwest Passage has been navigable for the first time in history for two years in a row. The US military is already reorganizing itself to defend it as a new attack vector. Russia, Canada, and the US are already squabbling over the resources under the ice.

"For the first time in history" sounds impressive, but I assume by that you mean the last 100-200 years, since it was just as navigable during the Medieval Warm Period. I'd also like to point you to the excellent sea ice page at Watts Up With That: http://wattsupwiththat.com/sea-ice-page/. Before you go "skeptic heretic DENIER website", please look over the sources at the bottom of the page and criticize those, since that is where the data for the page comes from. The page contains figures for both the arctic as well as antarctic.

I'd also like to point out that any kind of catastrophic global warming that CO2 might cause requires some kind of significant positive feedback mechanism, but none have been identified as of yet. It has simply been assumed that there must be one without any speculation as to what that might be. Cloud cover for example is likely a significant negative feedback when temperatures get higher.

In this case, you're entirely full of shit.

http://www.pnas.org/content/97/4/1331.full Ice-core records show that climate changes in the past have been large, rapid, and synchronous over broad areas extending into low latitudes, with less variability over historical times. These ice-core records come from high mountain glaciers and the polar regions, including small ice caps and the large ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

As the world slid into and out of the last ice age, the general cooling and warming trends were punctuated by abrupt changes. Climate shifts up to half as large as the entire difference between ice age and modern conditions occurred over hemispheric or broader regions in mere years to decades. Such abrupt changes have been absent during the few key millennia when agriculture and industry have arisen. The speed, size, and extent of these abrupt changes required a reappraisal of climate stability. Records of these changes are especially clear in high-resolution ice cores. Ice cores can preserve histories of local climate (snowfall, temperature), regional (wind-blown dust, sea salt, etc.), and broader (trace gases in the air) conditions, on a common time scale, demonstrating synchrony of climate changes over broad regions.

That paper does not address my point at all. I said that CO2 alone can't warm the planet to the catastrophic levels predicted by IPCC among others(and noone claims it can), there has to be some kind of positive feedback mechanism to achieve that. I don't even understand what point you're trying to get across with that paper, could you please explain?

I believe the argument used is "we can't make the models fit the historical temperatures without including warming caused by CO2". Another argument I've heard, although not in quite these words, is "I can't think of anything else to explain it and CO2 seems to correlate pretty well". The latter is simply silly and the models in the former do not model cloud cover at all because it is unpredictable by models. Best models are at least 10% off on average, while a 2% change in cloud cover could account for the entire warming witnessed in the last century. Go figure.

CO2 can be measured. Here are the broad results:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_Earth's_atmosphere Burning fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum is the leading cause of increased anthropogenic CO2; deforestation is the second major cause. In 2008, 8.67 gigatonnes of carbon (31.8 gigatonnes of CO2) were released from fossil fuels worldwide, compared to 6.14 gigatonnes in 1990. In addition, land use change contributed 1.20 gigatonnes in 2008, compared to 1.64 gigatonnes in 1990.

This addition, about 3% of annual natural emissions as of 1997, is sufficient to exceed the balancing effect of sinks. As a result, carbon dioxide has gradually accumulated in the atmosphere, and as of 2008, its concentration is 38% above pre-industrial levels.

Also, your cloud cover bullshit is bullshit.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1912448,00.html#ixzz0v70lTSKB But a new study published in the July 24 issue of Science is clearing the haze. A group of researchers from the University of Miami and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography studied cloud data of the northeast Pacific Ocean — both from satellites and from the human eye — over the past 50 years and combined that with climate models. They found that low-level clouds tend to dissipate as the ocean warms — which means a warmer world could well have less cloud cover. "That would create positive feedback, a reinforcing cycle that continues to warm the climate," says Amy Clement, a climate scientist at the University of Miami and the lead author of the Science study.

Do you even read my comments at all? I was making a reference to cloud cover, not CO2. I am well aware that Mauna Loa is pretty well sited and its observations on CO2 concentrations can be considered to be accurate. As for the latter part, again you are quoting the text from the Time magazine instead of the actual source, but I found a summary at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/325/5939/376. Let me quote the first line for you: "The first reliable analysis of cloud behavior over past decades suggests—but falls short of proving—that clouds are strongly amplifying global warming." There's also a press release at http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/pressreleases/20090723-clouds.html. Since I can't read the original study, I can't comment on its validity, but based on the summary and press release I'd like to know if the study indicates that it is indeed warmer ocean that causes less cloud cover, and not the other way around (age-old question of causality). Another issue I would like to point out is that the area used for the study is very small on a planetary scale, and would like to see what references the study makes to that point (can you draw conclusions on the entire climate based on so small a sample etc.).

CO2 is not dirty, CO2 is plant food.

Water is essential to human life, but if you drink too much H2O, it will change the chemistry of your body and kill you. Similarly, if you change the atmosphere to the point where the chemistry of air changes, or cause a drastic shift in temperatures due to a higher stable global temperature, you're going to kill important things, like the Amazon rain forest.

"Chemistry of air" sounds pretty scary, but carbon dioxide needs to get to around 1% concentration of air before it starts having an effect on humans, which is about 25 times the current concentration. It's pretty safe to say that it will never have any significant physiological effects. You're confusing CO2-induced warming and CO2-induced health effects in that argument. As for the rain forest argument, I recommend reading up on it since that particular claim (even minor temperature rise can wreak havoc in Amazon rain forests) has been classified as extreme alarmism by pretty much everyone.

It's also funny how your argument pretty much degenerated into an ad hominem and failed to respond to the question.

Your arguments are flawed because they are flawed. The fact that I think that you and the other guy are dumb for having those arguments isn't ad hominem, nor is my desire to make you financially liable for your decisions. Your mental capacity to understand climate science is a perfectly valid reason to convince other people not to pay attention to your opinion.

You're quoting articles in tabloids as proof and call my understanding deficient. Do I even need to make fun of this?

In fact it might be better due to more farm land, higher CO2 levels promoting plant growth and less harsh winters. More people die when it is cold than when it is warm.

CO2 levels have been rising since the industrial revolution, but the plants aren't growing any more quickly. And Global Warming doesn't mean the summers get hot and the winter gets mild. It means the global mean temperature is higher, which can mean more blizzards, more hurricanes, more tornadoes, more heat waves -- in short, more unpredictability. The earth's atmosphere is ultimately a closed system. The more heat you introduce, the more activity you are going to get. This may lead, way down the line, to another shift in equilibrium that ushers in a new ice age. Unfortunately, a higher global mean temperature also means less glaciers, which makes the water supply vastly more dependent on rain, subjecting more regions to drought, famine, and a host of other problems. It also reduces the regular amount of ice and snow coverage, which keep the planet cooler by reflecting sunlight.

And if you think temperature related deaths are higher in Siberia in winter than heat waves in Europe in the summer, you've got a data set that I have never seen. What's far more important to human survival is regular access to clean water. I'd wager more people die, by far, from diarrhea and sanitation issues than die from anything purely related to weather.

I guess the reason CO2 concentrations in greenhouses can be(and are) in excess of 1000 ppm is to get rid of the human pests then, or what? I recommend watching this youtube video (with a healthy amount of skepticism since it is youtube, after all). Granted, it's a single species of plant but it demonstrates that CO2 can have a drastic effect on growth. As far as glaciers disappearing due to hotter climate, hotter air means more moisture in the air, which means more rain. Many areas can actually benefit from hotter temperatures in terms of water availability, but whether it's overall a negative or positive effect is not known.

As for a data set, how about UK?. WUWT also has an article on this, but based on your argumentation I do not think you're going to read it. Nevertheless, here's a link: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/01/06/winter-kills-excess-deaths-in-the-winter-months/. There's also a saying I heard somewhere: "Lack of food kills you in weeks, lack of water kills you in days, but lack of warmth can kill you in hours."

This entire green thing resembles a religion...

Philip K. Dick said, "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." The reality is that CO2 levels have been rising for nearly 200 years, and now are passing known recorded amounts in the last 10,000. Some of it is being absorbed by the ocean, but that's incåreasing the pH level through chemical interactions with the sea floor, which also seems to have adverse side effects on marine life throughout the entire food chain. Glaciers are measurably shrinking. The Northwest passage has opened up for the first time in history for two years in a row. 2010 is the hottest year on record, so far. In the last two decades, half of those years at the hottest on record so far.

Let me put it like this. If I actually saw Jesus Christ, shook his hand, and had him change my cup of water into a nice port, climate change would be like a religion, since religion would be then be reality.

As it stands currently, you're denying science because you don't like the conclusions. I'll leave it to others to decide whether that sounds more like a religion.

I agree that CO2 is rising as per the data provided by Mauna Loa mesurements. I also agree that the temperature has risen clearly ever since 1880 up until 1998. What I do not agree on is that the current warming trend can be fully(or even mostly) attributed to CO2, I do not agree that the models that do not even model cloud cover can be used to predict temperatures decades into the future, nor do I agree that the current warming trend will result in catastrophic warming. What I most of all do not agree on is spending billions or trillions of $CURRENCY€ to combat a supposed "problem" that may not even be a problem when the money could be spent on far more important things.

Comment Re:"Undeniable" (Score 1) 1657

I have no idea why the parent to the previous post was modded troll, since it asked exactly the questions that are relevant to the issue. Anyway, here goes:

a) warming is happening

Virtually all independent science confirms this.

It's good that we agree on something. It should be noted, however, that there has been a flat line in global temperature for the last 10 or so years. While this is insignificant as an indicator of anything, it should be noted that the models that are used for all projections failed to predict this.

b) it's a bad thing

The rising acidity of the oceans due to CO2 absorption and the upwelling in the Seattle, Washington area have prevented them from harvesting oysters for a few years now. The same thing is killing coral all over the world. Heat waves are straining the electrical grid. The Arctic will have ice free summers in a few decades, with unknown effects. Glaciers around the world are melting, threatening the entire water ecosystem. Probably pretty bad.

I'm sorry, what? I'd like to know how you link a few years of poor oyster harvesting to global warming, so please quote some kind of source. Same goes for the coral statement. Ocean acidification is a scary-sounding theory, but whether it will have any major ill-effects is pretty much an open question.

Heat waves are weather and are caused by natural variability. Same goes for blizzards, neither is proof of anything. As far as your claim about the Arctic, I believe the scariest guess so far has been ice-free by 2015. All of those "predictions"(guesses) are based on models that ignore significant aspects of the inner workings of Earth's climate, most notably changes in cloud cover.

I'd also like to point out that any kind of catastrophic global warming that CO2 might cause requires some kind of significant positive feedback mechanism, but none have been identified as of yet. It has simply been assumed that there must be one without any speculation as to what that might be. Cloud cover for example is likely a significant negative feedback when temperatures get higher.

c) human activity contributes significantly

Again, virtually all independent science confirms this.

I believe the argument used is "we can't make the models fit the historical temperatures without including warming caused by CO2". Another argument I've heard, although not in quite these words, is "I can't think of anything else to explain it and CO2 seems to correlate pretty well". The latter is simply silly and the models in the former do not model cloud cover at all because it is unpredictable by models. Best models are at least 10% off on average, while a 2% change in cloud cover could account for the entire warming witnessed in the last century. Go figure.

d) it's possible to do something about it

Oh, we can use dirty energy, but we can't reduce our use of dirty energy? Sounds like an addiction problem to me. You just don't want to pay more for your stuff. That's a pretty shitty deal for the rest of the planet.

CO2 is not dirty, CO2 is plant food. Another issue is that focusing on CO2 emissions pushes focus away from the real pollutants that actually are harmful to humans. In any case it's not a case of "can't" but rather "why should we?". Personally I'm in favor of replacing coal with nuke power since it's cleaner, safer and does not require a massive raw material transportation infrastructure. It's also funny how your argument pretty much degenerated into an ad hominem and failed to respond to the question.

e) the cure is better than the disease

Returning CO2 levels to what's known to support the only biosphere that sustains human life sounds better than possibly throwing it into an equilibrium that either starves much of the human population, or leads to resource wars than end it in other ways.

So now we get to fear of the unknown. You should understand that the amount of money being thrown into this whole "green" business is likely to cause more damage to society and global economy than global warming ever could. Humans and the environment are perfectly capable of adapting, and there's no evidence that a slightly warmer world (say 2 degrees C warmer) would be any worse. In fact it might be better due to more farm land, higher CO2 levels promoting plant growth and less harsh winters. More people die when it is cold than when it is warm.

Unless every one of those things is true, then the "green" crusade against global warming falls apart. So yes, you do have a goalpost issue: it's that you have to get past (at least) five of them to even have a shot.

The "green" crusade only falls apart when your willingness to delude yourself for your own personal gain doesn't cause you directly measurable harm. Unfortunately, the next generation will probably bear the cost of your self-imposed ignorance. Maybe we can set up some sort of taxation program, so you can opt-out of "green" taxes today, as long as the money is attached to your estate in case you're wrong. That would probably cause some people to think a little bit more.

This entire green thing resembles a religion: There is an inherent evil in man because he has caused damage to the environment (the original sin). He must spend his life atoning for it by living a virtuous life and he can boost his atonement by purchasing indulgences (green stuff, carbon credits, whatever). Only by living virtuously and believing in the evil of man and their unnatural technology can the world avoid the judgement day.

Comment Re:This is good. (Score 1) 490

No, simply no. While even further decentralization of energy production sounds like an interesting pipe dream, it is not practical. Centralized power generation is far more efficient and cost-effective. You're also glossing over the fact that industry requires a whole lot more power than homes so at least that part requires centralized power generation.

The only reasons you provide for why centralized power generation "is not going to work" is distrust of government, Big Everything(corporations) and fear of terrorism(although you do classify it as a boogieman). While in principle I agree that concentration of wealth to the extent that has happened so far is not a good thing for society, going for even worse "solutions" just so that the bad status quo can be avoided is stupid. Distrust and fear of A does not validate B as a viable alternative.

Perhaps in the bright, distant future when everyone lives in prosperity, new technology is discovered for the joy of discovery and betterment of mankind instead of profit and money will not be the most important thing in the world, will technology be advanced enough to make decentralized power production a reality. Until then centralized is the way to go, and in any case nothing prevents your household from becoming self-sufficient in terms of energy if you really want to(and have the money). I'd rather stick with cheap nuke power.

Comment Re:Much ado about nothing (Score 1) 506

You're confusing the issue. Assume we have a base load requirement of B and an extra peak power requirement of P, with B + P being the total peak usage. The power requirements will therefore fluctuate between B and B + P.

Now, B is supplied by power plants that are online for nearly 100% of the time, only shutting down for maintenance and refueling. There are of course backups so even with downtime B is always provided one way or the other. The peak power can vary between 0 and P and needs power plants that can quickly adjust their output according to the power requirements.

Thinking about wind power, there will be times when their power output will be so close to 0 that nearly the entire peak power requirement of P must be provided with other means. This is not theoretical, it happens in Denmark many times a year even with their gazillion wind turbines all over the country. This means that there must be other reliable means to provide the entire potential power requirement of P. From this logically follows that wind power will not decrease the amount of power plants required to generate P.

Pretty much the only thing wind power can therefore do is decrease the amount of fuel that other peak-generating plants require by generating whatever power the other peak-power plants would be required to generate. However, building wind turbines is not free in terms of money, labour or resources nor is it exactly pleasing to the eye. Is it really a good idea to waste a lot of resources so that you can save a little bit of fuel (mostly natural gas) in peak power generation?

If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization.

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