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Comment Re:This strange stuff I heard of once... (Score 1) 624

IF CO2 becomes a problem?? What on earth do you think all that science has been telling us for the last 50 years?

And honestly I didn't think you were that naïve, to think that we would "already" have fixed the source of the problem. Did you also miss how vested interests have been funneling hundreds of millions into manufacturing doubt, while covering up their own scientists' findings?

It's taken all this time just to get enough popular interest in the issue for politicians to look past the lobbyists' dollars. Only now have all the governments in the world reluctantly agreed to start doing something (with a single notable exception).

Yes it's a solvable problem, but all the solutions are expensive so political will is almost nonexistent. But because some solutions are a lot more expensive than others, it's something we should have started tackling properly decades ago.

Comment Re:This strange stuff I heard of once... (Score 1) 624

Algae would be more feasible than trees, sure - for some values of "feasible".

Using your figures (which seem in the ballpark from the papers I looked at), we'd still need 4x the area you cite - an ocean patch the size of Egypt - just to keep up with the CO2 emissions from a single year (assuming that doesn't keep increasing). The ocean farms would need atmospheric CO2 to be concentrated, and the gas bubbled through the algae for efficient growth, or you'd be sharply limited by CO2 absorption, needing a much larger area. Your pipelines/ships would be delivering billions of tonnes of algae a week to be sequestered somewhere where decay products would remain trapped (i.e. not food or fuel), which just creates huge new problems. Disused mines would not be adequate for long, you'd have to heat it to create stable biochar then transport and bury that somewhere, which adds even more expense.

And all of these massive costs would be ongoing, with no returns, just a continual drag on the economy. Who's going to pay for that - and keep paying for it, forever?

Do you honestly think that such a massive engineering project is actually a better solution than attacking the problem at its source by phasing out fossil fuels (which would also save hundreds of billions in associated health costs from particulates), and switching to renewables and/or nuclear?

Comment Re:This strange stuff I heard of once... (Score 1) 624

A tree can absorb as much as 22kg of CO2 in a year. Humans emitted 40 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2015, about half of which was absorbed by existing plants and (mostly) oceans. So we need to plant around 900 billion more trees - just to stop it getting worse.

You think we can do that, find the land to grow and keep that many trees - and to lock down all their fixed carbon to stop it decaying right back into the atmosphere? Still think plants are the answer?

Or maybe it's just gonna be easier to get off coal.

Comment Re: Why the Moon and Mars? (Score 1) 114

The biodome mention was obviously hyperbole, so maybe don't take that comment too literally.

And as for cost - first, a few percent of GDP would cause another recession, and that cost every year adds up pretty fast. Second, climate costs accelerate as we move further away from our norm so that annual cost would only grow. Third, those studies I mentioned all show that mitigation costs a lot less than adaption, so financially we'd be foolish not to act. Fourth, we'd avoid a lot of the more existential risks that become significant when climate changes this rapidly, and those are hard to plan for. And fifth, getting off fossil fuels has the added benefit of saving the hundreds of billions that the US currently spends each year on pollution health costs - that should also be factored into any real accounting of costs and benefits.

Comment Re: Why the Moon and Mars? (Score 4, Insightful) 114

It's far from mythical.

It is not, however, an existential threat. It will not cause Western society to collapse (though some more vulnerable nations may not be so lucky).

It will be very expensive to deal with, and I expect that is what the GP is most concerned about (but not "terrified", as you seem to prefer to believe). Maybe look up how much the Netherlands has spent on its dyke system, and consider the cost of that for every coastal city on the planet. Have a look at what New York spent after Sandy's storm surge, and is now spending on new levees.

And that's just sea level. Have a look at all the other negative impacts described in the IPCC WG2 report, maybe read some of the many studies that attempt to count the net cost - and you too may be concerned for the sheer size of the bill any kids of yours will be stuck with.

Comment Re:My house is also not on the market (Score 1) 165

You are proposing that copyright caries a compulsory right to grant licenses in perpetuity.

Yes, it actually does. That's the whole point of copyright; that, in exchange for a time-limited protected monopoly on the authors' work, the work is granted in its entirety to the public once the copyright period expires.

Comment Re:Those were the days. (Score 5, Informative) 180

We do in fact have direct observations of ocean temperatures dating as far back as 1662. Thermometers did exist before the days of satellites, even if accuracy and coverage wasn't up to modern standards. Temperatures recorded then weren't even close to what we're seeing today.

In fact, we have multiple lines of evidence going back much further than that (cited thoroughly in e.g. the IPCC WG1 reports such as Chapter 5, Paleoclimate Archives) that show that the speed of current climate changes are unprecedented in anything like recent history (including ice ages). This is not surprising, considering that we can clearly see from the observational record that levels of greenhouse gases have risen from "more or less normal" to "unprecedented in the last 800,000+ years" in just the last century or so. Our knowledge of past conditions is a lot less limited than you seem to think - maybe try browsing some of the papers cited in WG1.

Since the observational evidence is entirely consistent with our physical models of past conditions, based on the known atmospheric conditions, solar output, GHG concentrations, recorded volcanism etc, speculation that "it could've been different, we just don't know" won't gain you much traction in actual scientific circles. You'd have to provide pretty solid observational evidence of anomalous ocean temperatures in the past, if you want scientists to accept that such conditions were in any way likely.

Comment Re:What's next? (Score 4, Informative) 316

Here's an EIA report listing the amounts and types of direct subsidies and tax incentives in 2013 specific to the energy industry, for both renewables and fossil fuels, broken down by type.

It does not include any incentives that are also available to other industries, nor does it go into any detail about past subsidies (obviously fossil fuels have been receiving these subsidies a lot longer than renewables).

Comment Re:The article is bullshit (Score 1) 215

Nitric oxide (NO) is fine, but nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is classified as an extremely hazardous substance, and kills tens of thousands annually in the UK alone. And that's in addition to the particulates formed, which kill millions globally.

Maybe read up a bit more before waving stuff off as fake news.

Comment Re:Holy shit, stop the insanity (Score 2) 394

As long as you don't admit that the models are wrong, you're opposed to science.

Oh the irony.

Sigh. Fine, we'll do this again. Yes, of course the models are not perfect - they do not (and cannot) predict every last short-term wiggle. To a "black and white" viewpoint then that means they're *always* wrong - even when they reliably nail the long-term trend for over thirty years. This of course does not mean they are not still very useful to climatologists that know how to use them (and as long as you don't admit that, you're opposed to science, yes?)

So with that out of the way, when the models don't match closely to what we observe, we want to know why, so that we can improve them. From your own first link (again):

..both internal variability and external forcing contribute to the ‘slowdown’. The externally forced contribution is due to the combined cooling effects of a succession of moderate early twenty-first century eruptions, a long and anomalously low solar minimum during the last solar cycle, increased atmospheric burdens of anthropogenic sulfate aerosols, and a decrease in stratospheric water vapour

As you point out, internal variability (ENSO etc) alone is very unlikely to account for the discrepancies, but your own citation says that internal variability and the short-term external forcings listed above are responsible for the so-called "pause" (in tropospheric warming specifically), and the models do not adequately account for these (again, no surprise to actual climatologists). Meanwhile, other (and more important) climate models are tracking nicely; for example, "ocean warming estimates over a range of times and depths agree well with results from the latest generation of climate models" (which is accelerating rapidly).

if you think the cause was volcanoes and solar activity, this paper talks to you. You'll have to find some other explanation.

So when your first link from 2017 explicitly calls out volcanoes and solar activity (among other things) as significant factors, you cite a paper from 2013 (four years out of date) to claim that it can't be those - despite that same paper explicitly not ruling out external forcings like those as being a factor. You really need to read your own citations more closely.

Seriously, do you look at this and say, "Oh yeah, that's right"? If so, what is wrong with you?

I look at that and say, "I see it's 5 years out of date, big surprise". Then I say "what is that graph even representing? There's no labels". Then I look at more up-to-date data. (NB I'm assuming from your example that you're fine with linking to images on blogs, but at least try to use something current and well-sourced?)

Comment Re:This is why renewables aren't the answer (Score 1) 394

Nuclear is certainly a reasonable solution for some cases. It's expensive, has waste issues, and the risks of major failures are not non-zero (particularly if attacked), but it's still a good option where there aren't better options.

But you haven't explained what you've got against renewables. Not only are they inexpensive (and still getting cheaper), fast to build, low-risk, well-understood (we've been using solar and wind for a long time), minimally polluting, scalable up and down, and (as many studies have now shown) can absolutely be used to provide large amounts of grid-quality power when widely deployed with plenty of redundancy and a little storage (of which there are numerous proven grid-scale solutions already commercially available, from pumped hydro to reflow batteries and compressed air).

Comment Re:The article is bullshit (Score 4, Informative) 215

As usual, you can't just assume it's that simple. PM2.5 particles can also be formed by chemical processes from precursor NOx emissions, adding to the levels from direct emissions.

In fact, according to this study, secondary formation of PM2.5 from NOx emissions can be surprisingly high:

Based on an analysis of the composition of the PM2.5 measured in the United States, the percentages of the PM2.5 formed by precursor NOx and VOC compounds is quite variable. The portion of PM2.5 comprised of all secondary components (sulfates, nitrates, ammonium, organic carbon) varies anywhere from 30% to 90% of all PM2.5.

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