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Comment Re:Think outside the box (Score 1) 258

That's right, melting ice caps can alter ocean salinity, which could alter ocean currents, leading to further climate changes:

https://www.llnl.gov/news/atmo...

Natural climate changes could affect salinity in the same way. It doesn't pose much of a risk to marine life compared to other effects of global warming.

Comment Re:Think outside the box (Score 1) 258

Ocean desalination? I assume you mean acidification or deoxygenation.

Here's some info for acidification:

http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-...

The current pH is lower than the last 2 million years, and looking at the graph, the rate of change appears to be the fastest on record.

I couldn't find any historical data for ocean oxygenation. There are records for temperature going back to 1880 that could be helpful in estimating oxygen exchange rates, but that's about it.

Again, I can't do anything about the fact that there are people who think that climate change is real who are blowhards, know-nothings, and even bullshitters out to make a buck. If that fact turns you off, you REALLY won't like the denialists...

Reporters who make elementary mistakes get corrected on science blogs instead of the mainstream sites where they posted the mistake. Reporters screwing up on science stories is hardly new or restricted to climate science.

Comment Re:And when we have no home no job no doctor (Score 1) 490

I'm not talking after-tax income, I'm talking wealth:

http://www.theguardian.com/mon...

I'd guess the 1% has 99% of the disposable income because huge amounts of cash are hoarded by them instead of spent, while the rest of us spend most or all of what we earn on relatively basic stuff that's required to function in a modern society.

Comment The iPhone is the first toy smartphone (Score 2) 379

The iPhone was a total joke when it came out. It was pretty and different, but there were no applications for it other than what it came with (!), you couldn't even download files or copy and paste text. It was a few years before it got within reach of the capability of the Treo 650 I had at the time, which was my second smartphone more capable than the original iPhone and not even the best smartphone available at the time. Even then, the iPhone was and remains a toy to enable consumption, not a real computer. A real computer puts you in control of what it can do, allowing you to write and run your own programs on the device and download and run applications at will.

The iPhone's success damaged computing itself more than any device or event in history by popularizing curated computing in place of general-purpose computing.

Comment Re: Think outside the box (Score 1) 258

I'd say there is plenty enough science to say that doing nothing is about the worst alternative for the environment, short of actively destructive options like switching the planet to 100% coal power (or possibly chopping up trees and burning them for power, but we're already doing that!). This is basic stuff as climate science goes.

The best alternative for the environment would very clearly be to cease all CO2 release right this second and put all resources toward sequestering CO2 to bring it close to pre-industrial levels, but that's not remotely practical.

The tricky part comes in balancing what's best for the environment with what's practical for our civilization. Doing nothing (let's say locking power sources at what they are today, because renewable power and electrics would naturally become the cheapest options in under a century otherwise) will certainly hasten the demise of civilization and cause many medium-term and long-term problems so that can't be the best, we can afford to do better. The cost of suffering through those problems will be far greater than whatever we can spend to avoid them in the short term, the only question is what we can afford to spend now and how deep into the diminishing returns we should go.

The "too late" argument relates to milestones like +2C where certain consequences can't be avoided, it certainly doesn't mean that there's no point preventing warming over +2C. It still gets worse with more warming, it's a sliding scale that we've just put artificial markers on. There's no point where we "might as well give up 'cuz it's already broke."

Comment Re:Think outside the box (Score 1) 258

150 years is a blip in geologic time, but it's a decent chunk of time for our civilization and represents most of the post-industrial era. So the fact that it's a blip by geologic standards is hardly relevant to the discussion of anthropogenic climate change and its effects on our civilization. It's certainly not too short a period in which to measure climate change.

If you're only concerned with avoiding mankind's total extinction then I'll admit, you should perhaps not worry about climate change at all. The only effects of climate change that could even threaten total human extinction are ocean acidification and now perhaps ocean deoxygenation, and we'd likely suffer a population crash that would drastically cut CO2 release before causing an oceanic mass extinction. If you want to keep our civilization running about as well as it is right now though, you should be very worried about climate change. Changes in coast lines can cause massive property destruction, mass migrations, and unrest. Changing weather patterns can cause crop loss leading to famine, mass migrations, and unrest (see how the Syrian civil war started).

The ocean can kill off species due to habitat encroachment. Whole coastal and island habitats radically changed. It can drive further human habitat encroachment due to those mass migrations from changing coast lines/rainfall patterns and flooded cities, and human habitat encroachment drives animal habitat encroachment.

Comment Re: Think outside the box (Score 1) 258

He's right though, carbon is the problem, and while there are non-carbon-reduction workarounds for some of the problems that carbon causes, there are no workarounds for all of them, most prominently ocean acidification. Those workarounds also all carry downsides that addressing the actual problem doesn't, so it's not a free lunch. If you think of the different options as geo-engineering efforts, reducing carbon emissions carries the least risk, since we're just going back to where we've been before instead of blazing a new trail with a new method.

Addressing carbon emissions isn't an especially expensive or difficult approach either. So why are you so set on only treating the symptoms when treating the cause is a comprehensive, safe, affordable solution?

Comment Re:Think outside the box (Score 1) 258

Sounds like you've got this all figured out buddy, global warming must be a big hoax because some of the people who think it's real are blowhards and/or poorly informed. There's none of that on the other side!

But more seriously, the "correct" temperature is what works well for our currently established civilization, which is directly at or very slightly above pre-industrial levels. This is also why it should be no comfort that CO2 levels were higher when dinosaurs roamed the earth.

And yes, this means that in the far future we may have to counteract natural climate change to stay at the "correct" temperature.

Comment Re:Wrong as per usual Warming Alarmists (Score 4, Insightful) 235

Scott Adams makes two great mistakes in that blog post: The first is that he blames science instead of industry for industry-led pseudoscientific disinformation campaigns (diet and tobacco specifically, and presumably also climate). He lays it all at the feet of science for failing to overpower these efforts with hardly a finger shaken at industry. He is saying that science has a credibility problem because of industry's lies. That's bullshit.

The second is that he fails to see that the wrongness of science is relative. Apparently until some extremely stringent rightness threshold is passed, science's answers are uselessly wrong, and telling people to cut down on fatty foods to prevent obesity was as wrong as telling them that they're fat because they're full of demons. That's also bullshit.

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