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Comment: Re:Many warmer periods in the past with no AGW (Score 1) 869

Other than learning from it, yes, historical non-anthropogenic global warming is indeed irrelevant to us today. The past teaches us about the present, but doesn't affect us directly. It's still beyond me why you're so hung up about this.

And thanks for so clearly demonstrating my point about wilful blindness. Not what you wanted to hear? Must be drivel, and just to be sure let's call it political too.

Comment: The problem is celebrity culture (Score 5, Insightful) 568

by Namarrgon (#46819859) Attached to: The US Public's Erratic Acceptance of Science

Climate change: A theory about very complex system to model with the most famous proponent being a politician [with vested interests and suspect behaviour]. Of course there will be some doubters.

Thank you for summing up the core of the problem: too many people think celebrities are more believable than science, when it comes to being told what to think.

If Al Gore had "discovered" climate change, and was the only significant person promoting the theory with little convincing evidence, then people would certainly be right to doubt. But when Gore is only one notable figure of many that's echoing what the huge majority of climatologists have been telling us for decades, and when those climatologists have reams of peer-reviewed studies summarising multiple lines of evidence to back up their conclusions, then who gives a flying fuck about Gore?

Sadly, the answer is "the public", or more specifically, that sector of the public that don't want to accept any responsibility and would rather reframe the debate to be about celebrities and their credibility. Same goes with vaccines - much of the focus is on McCarthy instead of the evidence. Plus of course the Bible itself is probably the biggest celebrity ever, in a way.

Solution? Dunno. Stop clicking on every damn story with a celebrity in it, maybe, and perhaps then "news" outlets might not give such weight to their opinions. Won't help people face facts, but it will reduce the noise levels at least.

Comment: Re:Many warmer periods in the past with no AGW (Score 1) 869

Richard Alley's decision to disregard previous non-anthropogenic-global-warming

It hasn't been disregarded in the slightest. We've looked at all the known causes of past (non-anthropogenic) warming, evaluated their current effects by means of multiple independent lines of observations, and determined that none of them could be causing the warming that we're seeing today.

That leaves either a natural cause of warming that we've never seen happen before in the entire historical record (and that we can't even conceive of), or human causes. And since the calculated effects of human causes rather neatly fill the large gap between calculated natural causes and observed changes, it's only logical to conclude that humans are indeed the majority responsible party. These observations and calculations have been checked and confirmed in multiple ways by multiple parties. In the continued absence of any significant evidence to the contrary, very few climatologists still harbour any doubts.

Only the under-informed and willfully blind are still insisting that the evidence couldn't possibly be real, preferring instead to think that all the major science academies and nearly all the climatologists are all in some astonishingly huge global conspiracy to defraud the general public somehow. As your comments clearly show, these denialists appear utterly convinced that the "climate conspirators" are willing to risk their reputations, careers and continued employment by apparently spreading lies so obvious even laymen can see through them, just to help assure their continued employment (the overwhelming irony of this apparently escapes them). And simultaneously, these same denialists curiously refuse to consider the far more obvious elephant in the room of massive multinationals with trillions of dollars of future income at stake, not even acknowledging the possibility of the debate being deliberately skewed by such strongly vested interests...

"Willfully blind" does not suffice to describe such people.

Comment: Re:Many warmer periods in the past with no AGW (Score 1) 869

There is climate change due to larger natural forces that, so far, we are all helpless against: it's called weather.

This is Slashdot of course, but did you realise the whole point of TFA is that the climate change we're seeing is not ordinary weather? That the chances of what we're seeing being naturally-caused are 1% at best?

I will remain skeptical of the plumber who comes knocking on my door claiming I have leaky pipes

And when hundreds of plumbers from all over the city tell you the same, and show you photos of the leaks? What if they're actually right - are you prepared to risk paying considerably more for a whole new bathroom (and possibly your neighbours' as well)?

And of course, to complete the analogy there'd have to be a huge multinational water-supply industry that has a vested interest in you thinking that there's nothing you can do about the leaks, or your water bill...

Comment: Re:Many warmer periods in the past with no AGW (Score 1) 869

Pretending (against all evidence) that climate change is mostly due to "larger natural forces" that we're helpless against, is not going to make those changes go away. We can already see them beginning, it's very clear they will get worse, and we will have to deal with them one way or another.

Only by accepting responsibility, then tackling the effects we are ourselves causing, can we minimise the upcoming costs. Thankfully, independent studies have repeatedly shown this IS possible and effective, particularly if we act sooner rather than later, and in fact is significantly cheaper than allowing the worst of the changes to occur then trying to adapt.

Inventing a tsunami as an excuse for doing nothing when the plumber is telling you your bathroom is flooding because your pipes are leaking, is just foolish. When that flooding will spread to apartments below you as well, inaction verges on criminal.

Comment: Re:Deniers (Score 1) 869

I agree that China's emissions are a major concern (much less so for India), but that does not absolve the US' own responsibilities as the second-largest emitter (not to mention its past contributions too). When the US and others have cleaned up their own acts, more pressure can be brought to bear on China to follow suit (though at least it is making a start). To wait for others to act first is Tragedy of the Commons on a global scale.

the massive amount of money necessary for it would be available from the sale of [STEP's] byproduct, elemental coal

I think you're jumping more than a few guns there. The process has only just been experimentally demonstrated, the "elemental coal" of which you speak is a coating of solid carbon on an electrode, and even that needs a reaction temperature of over 750C (which implies significant solar concentration). We know nothing about engineering challenges scaling this up outside the laboratory, or what sort of costs or return it might involve. In fact, most of the attention so far seems to be on producing cement with it (still good for reducing emissions).

It sounds like STEP could one day be a useful part of our energy mix, but it's far from being a magic bullet, and it's certainly not going to attract major investment for a while yet.

All these renewable energies appear to be offered in the form of electricity, and cars do not yet run on that except for some very slippery-through-the-air, very expensive cars that most of us can't afford.

You might want to take another look at the electric car industry; there's rather more there than just Tesla Motors, and much more on the way. Every major manufacturer is working on electric vehicles, and some have been working on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles too (such as this Silverado). Again, we're not talking about turning off the oil today, but phasing it out as electric cars become more widespread (plug-in hybrids are a perfect intermediate stage).

bring industry back to the USA

I'm sure most Americans would agree with you there, but how to do that is not nearly so clear, and is the subject of much debate. Reducing income taxes usually means reducing services too, which many citizens and companies depend on, so it's not a clear-cut answer. Shifting to consumption taxes tends to hit poorer communities hardest, so that's a problem too. Personally I think full automation would be a good approach, but that's a different discussion. In any case, it's at best tangential - from the perspective of CO2, there's little point moving industry back to the US until the US takes a clear lead in reducing its own per-capita emissions.

Comment: Re:Many warmer periods in the past with no AGW (Score 1) 869

It might be considered illogical if you still didn't accept that anthropogenic warming was significant, and that the majority of observed warming was due to natural causes.

But since TFA's whole point was that it's not due to natural causes (as has been demonstrated many times elsewhere too) - that human activities must be the majority cause of the present warming - then in that context his quote makes perfect sense. Study of the past gives us insight into how various natural causes work, but in this case does not change our current responsibility.

Comment: Re:more pseudo science (Score 1) 869

You want us to "believe" the unpublished musings of a computer scientist on his personal webpage, rather than the reams of paleoanthropological evidence. That's not our DNA speaking, that's one guy trying to justify his religion by speculating well outside his field.

Sorry, but we're not as practiced at taking these sort of unsupported claims on "faith".

Comment: Re:more pseudo science (Score 1) 869

The IEEE would not say, however, whether it had contacted the authors or editors of the suspected SCIgen papers, or whether submissions for the relevant conferences were supposed to be peer reviewed.

So yeah, most of that has got nothing to do with scientific peer review at all, only IEEE's own internal review process (if any).

16 faux papers got published by Springer, which claimed that they did do peer review, which - if true - might support your claims. Though 16 failures out of many thousands of papers reviewed over five years is actually not far off a 99.9% success rate anyway...

Comment: Re:Many warmer periods in the past with no AGW (Score 1) 869

Let me get this straight: You're saying that, because it was warmer in the past, which we definitely didn't cause... we cannot possibly prevent warming today - even if we're the ones causing it?

Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're trying to say, but the irony of you calling the GP's article "illogical" is startling.

Comment: Re:Deniers (Score 1) 869

Nobody is suggesting we turn off all fossil fuels RIGHT NOW (that would be a strawman). What is being suggested is that we phase out fossil fuel dependencies and phase in a mix of the many carbon-neutral energy technologies (solar, wind, nuclear, geothermal etc etc) over the next few decades, rather than pretending we don't need to do anything, ever.

There have been numerous major studies about this. For example, the Stern Review makes it clear that the costs of inaction easily outweigh the costs of transitioning our energy supply, and more recently this Harvard Univesity study concludes that not only can the US switch to 100% renewable energy by 2050, it can do so while spending less than business-as-usual.

That STEP link you quoted elsewhere is interesting, though "pre-industrial carbon levels in 10 years" sounds wildly optimistic without throwing massive amounts of cash at it to develop it at huge scale.

You seem to think that a carbon tax would kill the economy. Carbon price legislation has been proposed in the US at least four times, and has accordingly been studied by the Congressional Budget Office as well as the EPA, EIA, and others (see citations), and concluded the impact would be less than 1% on GDP, compared to business as usual - without even considering the additional economic impact of climate change on the BAU scenario.

Comment: Re:What's wrong with girls in bikinis? (Score 1) 869

If you really are serious about this question (doubtful from your tone), then yes, of course the effects of warming have been explored and explained. This diagram sums up the basics nicely.

There are positive effects (e.g. slight increase in cereal productivity at moderate temperature increases in some latitudes), but these are heavily outweighed by the negative effects in health, flooding, freshwater availability and ecosystem impact, to name a few. Beyond that, there's the obvious costs of just changing our infrastructure to adapt (moving coastal cities or building levees, migrating farms further north, moving populations out of floodplains etc). If you'd like more detail, there's plenty in the IPCC AR4 WGII Policymakers' Summary, and of course in the WGII report itself.

Comment: Bwah? (Score 1) 869

OK, sacrificing mod points to reply, because this is just ridiculous.

First of all, please quote the actual studies, not blog pages like El Reg. That keeps things much clearer, and minimises the obvious bias possibilities.

Secondly, you compare one study's "likely" 1.64 degrees Celsius rise for doubled CO2 vs another study's "up to" 7 degree rise Farenheit - by the year 2200. Have you ever thought about comparing apples to other apples, or did you just grab two numbers at random to make your comment look more exciting?

Third, there is still no clear agreement as to how much temperatures will rise with a doubling of CO2. Nearly all scientists agree it will go up, and most agree on a rough range for that value, but there is still much debate on exactly what that value is. This is why the latest IPCC report (which surveys hundreds of studies over many sub-fields, giving a much better picture than any single study) says the "likely" increase is anything between 1.5 to 4.5 degrees C (same as the first three IPCC reports), while the "most likely" figure within that range is between 2.5 and 3.5 degrees C. Cherry-picking a single study that posits the lower bound is not a credible way to present your case.

Fourth, you deliberately (and obviously) mischaracterise a study about increased foliage increasing CO2 uptake as "discovering trees eat CO2". This might be news to you, personally, but climate scientists already have a pretty good idea of how much CO2 is currently being absorbed by current levels of global vegetation, and are more interested in finding out how much this might change - in response to increased CO2, or continuing deforestation.

Fifth, a YouTube video, from some random bloke who edited out bits of some other guy's presentation? I'm not even going to bother. Citations of real studies only, please, if you want anyone to listen.

"The medium is the message." -- Marshall McLuhan