Climate Change - Continued

Hummelstown, PA(Zone 6b)

We've come from here:

Sierra Vista, AZ(Zone 8b)

I have read the new IPCC summary and Ridley's op-eds a number of times now and I want to change my characterization of Ridley’s op-eds. I do not think a negative characterization of Ridley is even close to fair. My original take, based on a careless read, is that he was saying the IPCC was backing off altogether. He didn’t say that, though. He said some elements of the IPCC report would be toned down. What I read (from Ridley and others) is that GW model predictions have typically overstated temperature rise and that he thinks they probably continue to do so. He says that the 2007 report predictions will be scaled back. Reading the IPCC summary, I see Ridley's comments (based on the leaks) are accurate to the extent that I can find the proper references in the summary. To wit, Ridley says they have backed off blaming extreme weather on AGW, the IPCC summary report (page 7, Table SPM.1) says blaming AGW for more intense cyclones and drought ... is “low probability”. Ridley notes that temperature increases have basically leveled off for roughly fifteen years. The IPCC summary agrees: (page 15, Paragraph D.1, second lines) “There are differences between simulated and observed trends over periods as short as 10 to 15 years (e.g., 1998 to 2012)).

As I reread his op-eds, I don't see any claims that are unreasonable or intentionally deceitful. He accepts AGW. He is not an alarmist, though, and that is perhaps a sin? Ridley is clearly not someone who think AGW will likely be a disaster in the next few decades, but he appears to me to be an honest man with a well-informed opinion. He may be wrong, but I do not believe he has an agenda beyond what he sees as sensible. I think to insinuate that his writing is akin to Yoga-flying is a cheap shot that is not accurate. He is not a denier—as a matter of fact, I think most people who are labeled “deniers” aren't deniers at all; they are just not as alarmist as those who accept the current thoughts of the political winds wish they were. In one of his op-eds, Ridley even acknowledges that catastrophic change IS possible.
I must note that at least one IPCC member, Richard Tol, an economist from the Netherlands and a professor at the University of Sussex in England, has resigned from the IPCC because he believes the report is too alarmist.
Regarding the general tendency of some, I object strenuously to labeling anyone with a view that deviates from the “catastrophe” consensus as a “denier” or a liar. I think the tendency of “alarmists” (sorry for the generalization) to demonize those who don’t fall in line has been a major contributor to the huge fault line that runs through the GW controversy. Again, I default to my experience with creationists (defined as people who think the universe is roughly 6,000 years old). The science here is unequivocal. It's virtually all fields of science, from physics to astronomy to genetics to chemistry, not just evolution, which makes creationists clearly and absolutely wrong. But, they are not evil, nor are they necessarily stupid. They have a fundamental belief that simply cannot be swayed. It's far, far beyond my understanding, but I have long ago ceased thinking of them as simple idiots. Same thing with folks whose political views are incomprehensible to me. (Nonetheless, I am still frustrated that people don't recognize the fundamental rule that being reasonable means seeing it my way! :«) )

A quick aside, (Rick), if the goal of climate models is to show “major change” (I don't think it is, those are your words), then that is itself is misguided. The whole point of modeling is to predict the future, whatever it is, not to predict “major change”.

It seems to me that politics is the one aspect of human activity where those who disagree with us are “evil” and the GW controversy has unfortunately become politicized. Our politicians—from both sides—encourage these extreme bi-polar views. You never hear Coke/Toyota/McDonalds/WalMart describing Pepsi/GM/Burger King/K-Mart as evil. With a few notable exceptions, even religions don't claim that hatred toward other believers is proper. But pretty much all politicians encourage their followers to despise and ridicule the opposition, who are either money grubbers or socialists, baby killers or woman haters, war mongers or pacifists who will destroy the country, right wing Nazi Koch brothers or commie George Soros, and on and on. They would have us think that, at best, they (the opposition) are misguided, ignorant fools. Whatever one’s views, can one really believe that roughly half of our population is idiots and the other half rational, intelligent folks?

I fall back to the question: What do we do about AGW? We have AGW and its long term effects and the future degree is unknown. In the short term, we are not going to scale back to the point where human activities are negligible with respect to CO2 production, no matter how much that sounds like a noble idea. It is not how the world works and virtually no one will voluntarily accept the extreme deprivation that it would entail. A carbon tax, based on my understanding, will not reduce CO2 emissions enough to matter (pardon my snide comment, but Al Gore will continue to flit around the world, live in oversized homes, and generally far exceed a reasonable carbon footprint while buying carbon offsets. Maybe we can just all buy carbon offsets and plant more trees?). CO2 increases are, I am convinced, unavoidable for several decades—China has been, and is, installing gigawatt coal plants at the rate of one per week. I have no idea what India, Africa, South America, and other parts of the world are doing, but they're not installing wind mills and solar panels on a significant scale. What we need to do is start using technologies that produce less CO2. Natural gas is here, it's cheap, and it's half the CO2 production of coal. Nukes can start helping in ten years or so—they take forever to permit and build. Continue research into all alternatives. Solar is getting significantly cheaper, but it, and wind, are currently still expensive. In addition to the costs of their own installation, they require a back-up power plant that can cover essentially 100% of expected demand for windless/cloudy days and lightless nights. That means a coal/nuclear/natural gas/hydro facility at full cost. Solar and wind are a plus for reducing CO2 production, but they’re a big hit to the wallet. In the real world, wallets matter.

One more thing—I occasionally read commentary on various sites like CNN, Fox, MSN, WSJ, NYT, and others. In general, the debate here in DG is far, far more civilized than it is on any of those other websites. Congrats to all!!!

Hummelstown, PA(Zone 6b)

Willy...nice analysis there...

Again nobody is discussing the causes of the changes in climate this planet has seen over milenia and if any of these natural phenomena are responsible for what we have currently seen.

Other than a very hot year in 2010 temperatures have been holding steady or slightly cooling in the last 16 years. If CO2 or any other "greenhouse gas" is causing the would be warming in proportion to the increase in concentration of the greenhouse gas. This is what the climate scientists believe which is why they have continued to predict rising temperatures with rising CO2. The problem is that despite rising CO2 the temperatures are not rising. In my opinion this is a serious weakness in their theory. There are factors regulating temperatures much stronger than CO2 and it doesnt seem like they are interested in those other factors and nobody seems to be talking about them.

I guess only time will tell. If we start to see some cooling over a longer period of time it will be interesting to see how the climate scientists explain this despite rising CO2 levels.

Vista, CA

I saw on TV today a short blurb about an organization, Non Governmental Organization of Climate Change, NGOINCC or something like that. It is a group of Scientests that have prepared an analysis of the recent report by the UN Scientests. It is sponsored by something called the Heartland Institute.

They contend that the Temperature changes are well within the normal variations, so it sounds like a Professional version of what we have been doing here.

Of course the True Believers are denouncing the new analysis of the recent UN report, as beingg conducted by a bunch of old retired has beens, but retired can also mean a man with a lot of actual experience that no longer has to sing the song his Boss chooses for him to sing.

I am sure we will be seeinig and hearing more about this.


Vista, CA

EZRA KLEIN is a liberal Columnist for the Washington Post, a liberal newspaper. I do not know who Kahan is.

Klein goes on to describe another Kahan study by the same researcher that reached the same conclusion:

"He tested people's scientific literacy alongside their ideology and then asked about the risks posed by climate change. If the problem was truly that people needed to know more about science to fully appreciate the dangers of a warming climate, then their concern should've risen alongside their knowledge. But here, too, the opposite was true: among people who were already skeptical of climate change, scientific literacy made them more skeptical of climate change".


Vista, CA

This is a more complete report on the Counter AGW report from the UN. I saw this on Fox News Online, and for Radical Liberals that think Fox is biased, i would like to point out how carefully they present both sides. I also watch Liberal News sources and the balance is seldom discernible.

A U.N.-commissioned panel says climate change is hurting the growth of crops, affecting the quality of water supplies and forcing wildlife to change the way it lives – but what if it’s all just smoke and mirrors?

A new report from the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), written by an international collection of scientists and published by the conservative Heartland Institute, claims just that, declaring that humanity's impact on climate is not causing substantial harm to the Earth.
“All across the planet, the historical increase in the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration has stimulated vegetative productivity,” reads a portion of the 1,063-page report, called “Climate Change Reconsidered II: Biological Impacts.” “This observed stimulation, or greening of the Earth, has occurred in spite of many real and imagined assaults on Earth’s vegetation, including fires, disease, pest outbreaks, deforestation and climatic change.”

The Heartland Institute says more than 30 scientists served as authors and reviewers for the new report, which it claims cites more than 1,000 peer-reviewed studies supporting the belief that climate change is not detrimental to the biosphere. The Heartland Institute describes itself as a think tank promoting public policy "based on individual liberty, limited government and free markets."

The panel of scientists says human impact on the global climate is small, changing temperatures are within a historic scope of temperature variables and there is no net harm to human health of the production of food.

The findings are a stark contrast to the messages from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which in a report released last week concluded that in many regions of the earth, changing precipitation and melting snow are altering hydrological systems, which negatively impact the quantity of water resources.

The IPCC’s report also states that climate change is forcing terrestrial, freshwater and marine species to shift their geographical ranges and migration patterns.

But the Heartland Institute says the scientific community is under tremendous financial and peer pressure to reach the conclusion that global industry is damaging the environment.

“Ethical standards have been lowered, peer review has been corrupted, and we can’t trust peers in our most prestigious journals anymore,” Joe Bast, President and CEO of Heartland Institute, told Fox News.

However, scientists are questioning the credibility of the NIPCC’s findings.

Donald Wuebbels, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Indiana Champaign Urbana, says the report is not peer-reviewed.

“Mostly it’s a bunch of old, retired guys that got together and wrote a report for the Heartland Institute that is basically full of misinformation,” he told Fox News.

The Heartland Institute, which is going to publicly roll out the report Wednesday in Washington, D.C., insists that it is peer-reviewed.

Meanwhile, government officials and top climate scientists are meeting in Berlin this week to approve a draft U.N. study on fossil fuel emissions.

The study asserts that world powers are running out of time to cut their use of high-polluting fossil fuels and stay below agreed limits on global warming, according to Reuters.

The study says nations will have to make drastic pullbacks of greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming to less than 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit over pre-industrial times.

The draft study outlines ways to cut emissions and boost low-carbon energy, such as nuclear and solar power, Reuters reports.

Fox News’ Mike Tobin contributed to this report

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

The Heartland Institute is a conservative and libertarian group which does not have the respect of the mainstream science community. See:

One should exercise the same caution in believing those who support one's beliefs as one does in believing those who contradict them.

This message was edited Apr 9, 2014 5:22 PM

Vista, CA

"One should exercise the same caution in believing those who support one's beliefs as one does in believing those who contradict them"

GG, You are absolutely correct and the only thing i would add is that we should probably use even more caution when considering what we believe from those that support us. The best chance we have to increase our knowledge is to keep an open mind and consider everything that both sides present..

I keep reading everything you post looking for proof that GMO has harmed people, and when you post the proof, i will believe it and change my stance. The claims from both sides have to meet standards of common sense and overall cost benefit analysis to convince me.


Sierra Vista, AZ(Zone 8b)

Here's some food for thought about how personally difficult it will be to reduce out energy consumption. According to the documentary "Pandora's Promise", the typical cell phone consumes about as much energy as a typical refrigerator once you consider all of the supporting equipment like cell towers, servers, and such. I would guess a computer consumes a lot more.
To truly reduce carbon release enough to turn AGW around will require sacrifice beyond our imaginations.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

" To truly reduce carbon release enough to turn AGW around will require sacrifice beyond our imagination.."
I fully agree, or I agree" to reduce fossil fuel consumption enough to stop adding COS to the atmosphere....beyond our imagination."
We went down to DC to the Cherry Blossom festival. We did not go until 4 pm Sunday, avoiding the peak of crowds but it was still unbelievable hordes, absolute throngs of people everywhere. Mind boggling numbers of people. It was a beautiful spring day. All those people, expending plenty of energy just to get to that area from miles around and see stuff and mess around and drink zillion of bottle of water and eat junk food from trucks. The trash! Incredible.

And does anyone think they will gently persuade these people to stop drinking from single use bottles, stop going to the park on a whim, stop using their cell phones everywhere they go, stop buying food from trucks that have to sit and run compressors....

On the plus side, there were stands for a bicycle-share program, and some people using bikes, and most of the people down there had to use mass transit to get there for some of their trip.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

This is what I was saying about climate change and sea level rise as it affects our area. There has been a noticeable change in the last ten years or so, as I described in the other thread:

Vista, CA

The article is talking aboutCoastal Erosion for the most part, which is an entirely different situtaion, and a serious one in its own right.

The only mention i noticed about rising sea levels was just a reference to the "melting arctic ice" which has reversed itself and increased recently.

I was at the Long Beach CA, Marina yesterday, where i have kept my boat for the last 50 years. It is surrounded by vertical sea walls, and the floating docks are accessed by Gangways attached to the seawalls with wheels on the docks to accomodate tidal changes.

Any rise in sealevel would be apparent as the gangways would no longer be level at the highest tides. But they have not made any apparent change in the fifty years i have been there.

The Marina infrastructure was just recenlty rebuilt at a cost of many Millions of dollars and no change was made in the height of the sea walls, so they apparently expect the Sea levels to not increase much in the next fifty years, either.


Hummelstown, PA(Zone 6b)


I come to the same conclusions you do regarding that article. Coastal erosion is a very serious problem as well as some areas that are sinking in elevation...neither of which are are caused by climate change or rising sea levels. Sea levels have risen slightly as we have previously documented but so far not enough to match all the hype that has been talked about over the last few years. We are talking a few inches in over a 100 years...even if they continued to rise at the same pace over the next hundred years a few more inches would cause very little problems in most of the US. If we had to prioritize all of the dangers facing humanity...ocean level is not our greatest threat.


Hummelstown, PA(Zone 6b)

This is the third installment. I already shared part 1. But even though it is one sided and perhaps biased in some areas it does bring up some really great points that need to be discussed further.

Hummelstown, PA(Zone 6b)

Some interesting data in the attached charts.

Also it appears that sea levels are declining.

Thumbnail by drobarr Thumbnail by drobarr
Vista, CA


It seems to me it would be pretty hard to ague against the simple facts that you post, unless the charts can be proved to be corrupted.

Thanks for biinging all this information together and sharing it with the rest of us.


Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> There are factors regulating temperatures much stronger than CO2

My belief is that the very long-term effects will do what they do while added CO2 adds a few degrees to their effects - at least, for a while, where that "while" might be decades or centuries. .

If there is an interaction between (say) changed temperature gradients, clouds, or the deep-ocean thermo-haline circulation and the forces that drive Ice Ages and interglacials - that would cause an abrupt change into some [u]new[/u] climate regime like an "ultra-inter-glacial period" that is yet another uncharted hazard that might mitigate or devastate.

The changed CO2 levels are like a brick through a plate glass window, except that the window is the planet's climate, and we've never seen the effect of a brick like this before. Roll them dice!

>> I guess only time will tell.

True, but unfortunately, for some of the really long cycles, "time" is measured in tens of thousands of years. This little Keeling Experiment we're in the middle of seems very unlikely to go even 1,000 more years before 9 BILLION tons of CO2 added to the atmosphere has irreversible effects.

The most optimistic thing I can take away so far from the discussion of the IPCC leaks and summary is that the evidence for super-cyclonic storms and chaotic weather changes in the next 10-20 years is weaker than it was 7 years ago. That's good news, but it doesn't change the Keeling Curve:

Thumbnail by RickCorey_WA
Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

drobarr said:
>> If CO2 supposedly traps heat or absorbs heat by preventing it from escaping back in space according to the greenhouse effect...why doesnt it prevent or trap heat on its way in?

Solar radiation coming in is of all frequencies, with a lot (I think) in the visible-yellow range. A lot of the UV and IR in sunlight do get absorbed on the way in.

[u]Reflected[/u] light is around the same spectrum as hit the ground, IF the reflecting ice, snow or sand is light-colored.

Darker surfaces absorb many different wavelengths and get warmer.

Warm surfaces emit light with the peak low in the IR (they RE-RADIATE almost all infrared). Most RE-RADIATED energy is IR, not visible or UV because the earth's surface is much cooler than the Sun's chromosphere.

Nothing except for volcanic and fires are hot enough to re-radiate anything but low frequency IR.
It's that RE-RADIATED IR that the greenhouse effect is all about.
As for incoming IR being absorbed by increased CO2, I believe that that "incoming greenhouse effect" would be for the energy to be absorbed at [b]higher altitudes[/b] than in the past. How will that effect the atmosphere and climate as the CO2 accumulates? Climate modeling is trying to predict that before it's too late to fix.

The upper atmosphere used to be very cold, and increasing CO2 concentrations would (it seems to me) alter the altitude/temperature gradient of the atmosphere. What effect will that have on weather, climate, clouds, and latitude/gradient of temperature? Will India and the tropics become literally uninhabitable? Or will the mid-latitudes absorb more of the energy? Or the poles? Not knowing that alarms me.

That kind of question is what climate science is trying to predict before it is too late to do anything about it.

Good point about solar activity and orbital eccentricity and a few other factors causing NON-anthropogenic global climate change. That was a very good answer to the comment "if global warming is happening, why did we have a cold winter?"

IF we are looking at a long-term random NON-anthropogenic [b]cooling[/b] trend combined with AGW having an overall effect of looking flat or cooling at this time,
when the long-term trend turns around and the two effects add up to double-heating instead of canceling out,
I expect a lot of people will come around to the idea that we should have panicked and started working on this really hard 35 years ago.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

many great points, Willy!

>> Ridley says they have backed off blaming extreme weather on AGW, the IPCC summary report (page 7, Table SPM.1) says blaming AGW for more intense cyclones and drought ... is “low probability”.

That would be really good news, if the leaks are representative and being reported accurately and the IPCC is right. If the main effect of AGW / ACC is only long-term gradual effects, we might be able to adapt until we can reverse the trend of dumping 9 million more tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year.

>> I think most people who are labeled “deniers” aren't deniers at all; they are just not as alarmist as ...

I think I should still be called "alarmist" even if were convinced there will be few RAPID and MAJOR changes in the near future (say, 20 years). 90 million tons per decade, almost a billion tons per 100 years ... I do find that very alarming, because it seems extremely implausible that the atmosphere and climate could possibly absorb that much CO2 without huge changes.

Whether a catastrophe occurs in 20 years or 100 years makes little difference to me, since the cure is getting harder every year we make things worse. If we don't see undeniable damage for 100 years, it will be even more likely to be unfixable.

>> the tendency of “alarmists” (sorry for the generalization) to demonize those who don’t fall in line

I still don't understand HOW anyone could look at the Keeling Curve, even back in 1980, and NOT immediately conclude that the long-term health of human civilization depends on finding a way to turn it around. (And it sure will be very hard to do!)

I realize that many people, including intelligent and un-biased people are still not wetting their pants. Honestly: that puzzles me. The keeling Curve looks exactly like every other exponential-growth curve I've ever seen, right before the text describes "and then the population crashes and most of the culture dies". But those were usually bacteria or lemmings, and we're supposed to be smarter than they are.

>> A quick aside, (Rick), if the goal of climate models is to show “major change” (I don't think it is, those are your words), then that is itself is misguided. The whole point of modeling is to predict the future, whatever it is, not to predict “major change”.

Sorry for mis-representing my beliefs. Of course the goal is to find the truth. At most I should have said "to find out whether the major changes that seem inevitable to me, are really inevitable, and when they will happen if they happen, and how to reverse them if they can still be reversed).

It's NOT my goal to produce falsehoods for propagandist purposes.

Pure science might be equally interested in quirky interim details or eventual outcomes, but if I'm in a boat that probably has a big hole in the bottom, I want to know whether that hole is real or imagined [u]before[/u] there is too much water in the hull to pump it out.

Or put it another way: if a bullet MIGHT be speeding toward my head, a major goal for me would be to detect WHETHER there was a bullet, and whether there might be serious damage when and if it drills through my brain. And which way to duck, if ducking is still possible.

>> What do we do about AGW?

That is the best question of all. Almost anything we can improve that doesn't have draconian effects on prosperity seems likely to be a big economic improvement in the direction of sustainability. But what?

What can be agreed upon as worth doing now, while researchers argue about whether "floods and famine" are likely in 20 years, 200 years or (if you have a really vivid and optimistic imagination), 500 years.

>> we are not going to scale back to the point where ...
>> It is not how the world works and virtually no one will voluntarily accept the extreme deprivation ...
>> China has been, and is, installing gigawatt coal plants
>> To truly reduce carbon release enough to turn AGW around will require sacrifice beyond our imaginations.

I totally agree, with our existing technologies, including fear of fission power.

But it still baffles me that almost no one except "environmentalists" and "Greenies" or sustainaholics shows any concern about their grandchildren. Sixty years from now, we will have pumped another 540 or 600 million tons of CO2 into the air, and some people are saying with a straight face that they aren't worried?

Picking a number out of my hat, China might quadruple it's current CO2 output before reaching the same per-capita emission rate as the USA. Maybe in 15-20 years it will be 12 million tons of CO2 per year.

The mega-Keeling Curve only looks like it is going straight up. On the fine scale, you can see that it is still inflected upwards: not just getting worse eevry year, but getting worse FASTER every year.

>> start using technologies that produce less CO2.

True, that is a first step, at the "engineering" level. So is "efficiency". Fission reactors and a fission fuel cycle that re-uses wastes for energy instead of weaponizing them or burying them.

Energy storage and transport.

Greatly more efficient solar cells.

Solar power satellites?

Keep working on fusion power but don;'t bet the farm on getting it when we need it.

I didn't realize that natural gas was so much more efficient! Is that because the H becomes H2O instead of CO2?

Geo-engineering tests. (Small-scale experiments so that we have a clue about what might work or evidence about what won't work when governments panic and want to try "anything".)

I think that INVENTING technologies that produce energy without as much CO2 is also necessary. I am alarmed that we've deferred major investment in that for 35 years already.

Yes it is the way the world works, but maybe that's also a way for sentient, industrialized species to destroy their civilization and chop their population down by a large factor.

Reducing "unnecessarily excessive" consumption might eventually become the only way to prevent what I think is the obvious eventual outcome (catastrophic AGW and CC, whether it comes on slow and steady or fast and chaotic).

Agreeing on what "unnecessarily excessive consumption" IS, or trying to convince people to do anything about it, is a political / social solution that won't even be attempted until catastrophic change is undeniably visible everywhere (if then).

I suppose that I am alarmist! I hope I'm wrong.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

Ernie said:
>> many of the things you state that i said or think are not mine. They are YOUR idea of what i was thinking or what you imagine i was thinking or things that you accuse me of thinking or saying.

I apologize for misunderstanding.

Sierra Vista, AZ(Zone 8b)

Rick--Very glad you see you back. I had planned on dropping out of this thread like I did the GMO thread, but seeing your very sensible comments leads me to think I'd like to keep going on CC. I am in your camp more than you might think, but am also somewhat a skeptic (of certain doom, not that fact of CO2 being a GH gas or of AGW effects) and I am very confused, too. I hope to have some half way intelligent thoughts in the next couple of days.

I love the Pacific NW--I was born in Wallace, Idaho and still think of piney woods and clear streams/lakes as what "heaven" must be like. My wife and I spent a week in Seattle in about 1999 and loved it. We never even got rained on!!! I have a cousin in Everett.

Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> We never even got rained on!!!

It must have been summer! I love the mild summers, except for when I'm trying to grow tomatoes.

>> I have a cousin in Everett.

I live in an un-encorporated district between Everett and Lynnwood. Perhaps because there are no local "town cops", the main road I live on is saturated with massage parlors, medical cannabis dispensaries and "bikini baristas" I do like the bikini baristas.

>> I am in your camp more than you might think, but am also somewhat a skeptic (of certain doom, not that fact of CO2 being a GH gas or of AGW effects) and I am very confused, too.

I sound somewhat hysterical to myself, on this thread, but those are my sincere beliefs.

CERTAIN doom goes a little far. We don't know how climate works in enough detail to be certain of anything.

POSSIBLY we'll get lucky and all the heat will go into a certain kind of cloud formation at just the right latitude and altitude to cancel out most of the changes, and possibly agronomists will figure out what can grow where and how to handle all the changes in pests and insects before many refugees starve.

If that happens AND world leaders manage to avoid stumbling into large and small wars during the period of flux, I'll have to admit that God passed a miracle as obvious as a big billboard proclaiming that no matter HOW stupid we are, He, She or They aren't going to LET us kill ourselves until they finish whatever game they're playing.

I agree that we are quicker to demonize people with "wrong" political beliefs than for most other reasons. And (maybe) quicker to come to hard-held certainty about political beliefs than any other kind.

In my own defense, I was completely convinced of the seriousness of AGW the first time I saw the mini-Keeling Curve, in Oceanus in the 1980s. That was before I heard any politicized version of it, and at a time when most of my family demonized me for being "so conservative".

I was just a nerd, saw the Keeling Curve, and knew that in 100 or 200 years, the same curve would appear in textbooks, perhaps hand-draw on deer skins, with the caption "this is how those short-sighted ba$tard$ destroyed civilization".

If we DON'T get into chaotic weather changes and heat-pumped-up hurricanes, the "catastrophe" that I [u]expect[/u] is deferred for multiple decades and might occur gradually enough to be less of a catastrophe and more like a less habitable planet with half the population, expensive food and many refugee problems.

It baffles me that we buy car insurance against the 0.1% risk of losing some tens of thousands of dollars, but are cavalier about a 1%, 5%, 10%, 30% or 70% chance of making the planet semi-habitable.

It seems to me that even a 0.001% chance of damaging the climate that we depend on for crops "ought" to have people running in circles in panic.

And the fact that we have no idea how to solve the problem "ought" to have people hyperventilating - or at least willing to bite the bullet and "do what it takes" to save the world for their grandchildren.

But that seems not to be how most people think.

Is it just that "it hasn't happened in the past so it never will happen?"

Or does it seem too much like science fiction to take seriously?

Or is everything that sounds anti-industrial or anti-consumerism filed under "radical liberal hippy dippy anti-American lies" and disbelieved automatically?

Probably something else entirely, but it puzzles me.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

RC '' It baffles me that we buy car insurance against the 0.1% risk of losing some tens of thousands of dollars, but are cavalier about a 1%, 5%, 10%, 30% or 70% chance of making the planet semi-habitable.''

Human are neverendingly irrational and emotional in their decision making. They even DRIVE those cars, with much greater risk of accident, but fear airplane crashes, with much less percentage of incidents.

Run in circles in panic over a .0001 percent chance of disaster? Many millions of people have died over famines caused by poor economic/ political policies, long before we thought about climate.

I say again- I cannot tell "the world" what to do, how to live their lives. US gov't can't. Who's going to tell the newly prosperous Chinese people that they cannot have electricity now because we've all decided to go back to the stone age? After we Americans have partied it up for a hundred years? Besides, we Americans know that we on the top of the world heap, if it becomes semi habitable, it's the 'other half ' that will suffer before we do.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

It's not the "other half" that will suffer; the masses in China and India are used to doing without electricity and the other amenities that we have long considered our birthright.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

yes, that's true.
americans will feel they are suffering if they lose the right to individually drive ridiculously huge vehicles to the grocery store five mlies away.

Vista, CA

Perhaps if you have not been hungry you do not realize it, but Hungry People can get even Hungrier, just as Cold people can get Colder.

The Poorest people always suffer more, and prior suffering does not prevent it.


Everett, WA(Zone 8a)

>> Human are never endingly irrational and emotional in their decision making.


>> I cannot tell "the world" what to do,

Yup, but many countries seem more willing to try something to decrease at least the rate of increase. China, no. My thought is that, if most countries agree on something that's somewhat effective, part of THAT agreement would be economic boycotts of countries that don't sign and comply.

But to be "somewhat effective", it would probably be HUGELY intrusive on our consumer culture and probably add a lot of costs to many things. And/or create jobs. And/or stimulate the economy. And/or create new technologies.

>> It's not the "other half" that will suffer; the masses in China and India are used to doing without electricity and the other amenities

I'm not sure how that would play out. I think people living in the tropics, and Third World countries generally will be hurt worst by climate change, whether it is long-term gradual warming or near-term crop loss through extra-variable weather or worse monsoons and hurricanes. We will have higher food prices, they will have famines. And making a 95-105 degree summer 5 degrees hotter will kill more crops and people than making an 80-90 degree summer 5 degrees hotter.

And who gets hurt most by treaties that try to decrease emissions depends totally on the treaty terms. For sure rich countries will bemoan loudest having to cut back to 1-2 cars per family, more efficient cars, and who knows ... caps on air conditioning? More expensive electrical power?

If India and China have to increase their standard of living slower than they would have otherwise ... like barely enough food and one cell-phone charger per village instead of enough food and ten cell phone chargers per village ... that still seems to me "hurt worse" than us scaling back from Hummers to Kias.

But that really IS politically charged. I would rather try to understand 3-D global climate models than international politics and ethics.

Because I am so pro-science and pro-technology, "if I were King of the World", I would invest in several advanced technologies and hope those "saved us". But I might be over-optimistic about that.

And I would invest in tests of several "geo-engineering schemes. I think that would infuriate almost everyone, on many sides of many issues.

I would also invest in space industries (a path to solar power satellites and beamed power as well as orbital "sunshade" possibilities) because I think that closed systems have intrinsic limits and we are hitting ours. I think that's also a minority opinion.

Sierra Vista, AZ(Zone 8b)

GG--I don't understand your last comment?

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Willy, assuming a scenario in which a lot of our supply systems break down due to the impacts of severe weather and climate change, I have read speculations that it's the First World societies which will feel the impact most. The Third World is used to making do with very little and can live without the extensive support systems we rely on and which may falter in the future due to lack of access to food and/or water and fuels. I thought it was an interesting idea but I don't insist on it.

Sierra Vista, AZ(Zone 8b)

OK, so here is the way I am thinking about the AGW situation. IF we burn ANY fossil fuel, we are adding to AGW. Period. Estimates vary a bit, but it seems like an accurate statement to say that over 80% of the energy used worldwide comes from fossil fuels. So, for Joe or Jane AverageWorldCitizen, he or she needs to cut his or her energy consumption by 80%. This explains Muller's claim that even following Kyoto to the letter doesn't solve the problem. Think about all of your energy expenditures—heating and cooling, driving, cooking, electronic devices like cell phones, TV, the Internet, vacations, pumping water, yada, yada, yada (for a chuckle, do you remember Elaine from Seinfeld saying she had yada yada’ed sex?). What are you going to give up to meet that target? Switching to a Prius won’t hack it. What about the world’s really poor—they probably can’t cut back nearly that much, so you need to do even better than 80%.
The above is maybe a bit simplistic, but it seems to me to be a darned good first approximation of the situation. Please, someone, show me where I’m grossly wrong. Ernie—I agree with you that the poor of the world will pay the larger price for not joining the modern world and that no amount of prior hunger or other aspect of poverty makes today’s or tomorrow’s suffering more palatable or easy.
Just for fun, I ran a rough calculation to estimate the cost of putting mirrors in space. Here are my assumptions. 1) The cost per pound to get into orbit will be $100 (it is currently $10,000 per pound) and 2) that $100 also includes the cost of materials and manufacture. 3) We need to provide shade for only 2% of the total area (at a 4,200 mile radius). 4) The radius of orbit is the aforementioned 4,200 miles. 5) Each square yard of mirror weighs 1 pound—including framework, reflecting material, the launch vehicle itself, astronaut assemblers, etc. The cost turns out to be $137 trillion.
A sad fact: the budget for this year for the National Ignition Facility—the folks in the Bay area trying to make fusion work—was cut by $50 million. Senator Feinstein is an advocate of the cuts because NIF hasn’t met its goals. Most of the cuts will be in the form of personnel reductions. Fusion would be clean and abundant if we could make it work. Essentially zero CO2 emissions, no radioactivity, no air pollution. But, our feckless leaders are cutting the budget for further research—and adding to the ranks of the unemployed. What priority beats energy independence and a solution to AGW?

From your friendly optimist!

This message was edited Apr 26, 2014 7:42 PM

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Willy I love you for putting some numbers together to quantify some aspects of all this. I had a hunch the space mirrors were not practical.

Vista, CA

I think we all agree that it is possible AGW can cause tremendous problems in the distant future if nothing happens to change it. But that has simply not yet been proven.

Willy and others have laid out some sound reasons why any solutions that have been thought of to date simply are too expensive for the global economy to afford, and that seems to be proven on the face of it.

But the Seismologists tell us that it is almost certain that the Continental Shelf on both the East and West coasts of North America are going to slide into deep water, taking a good part of the Coastal developments with it. That of course will create huge Tsunamis that will wreak havoc on both the Asian and European Coastal developments, and such a huge destruction of infrastructure will reduce both the production and the consumption of fossil fuels, which will reduce the danger of AGW tremendously.

If the Continental shelves do not save us from AGW by sliding into deep water as forecast, then we still have the Vulcanologists Predictions to save us, as they are predicting many more Volcanic eruptions from Iceland to Washington State, Hawaii and all around the Pacific Rim. If those eruptions happen as expected, the Ash and Gas in the atmosphere will block the sun for several years, as Krakatoa did, and surely slow down AGW.

And if the Seismologists and the Vulcanologists are both wrong, then we still have the information posted by Drobarr, regarding the cooling effect as the Earth moves away from the Sun.. That will delay the AGW disaster for a while, giving the Seismologists and Vulcanologists a little more time to hi their forecasts.

Now, if all of the above fails to protect us from the AGW, we have one last hope. There has not yet been found any cure for either Ebola or Sars, and they may turn into an epidemic that will drastically reduce our Global population and give us some more time for some unforeseen catastrophe to develop that will slow down or forestall the AGW.

So, I hope that everyone will take comfort from all of these other problems that may very well save us from AGW.

I still do not see any viable solution that will protect us from GMOs, but as soon as we can find some proven damage, we will then have something to work with to develop an antidote.


This message was edited Apr 27, 2014 6:54 AM

Hummelstown, PA(Zone 6b)

The amount of warming that climate scientists are predicting will be beneficial to plants. The temperatures they predict will increase moisture in the atmosphere. This will enhance agricultural production in most places.

But again what they have predicted hasn't happened. And I doubt they can predict the future with much accuracy as many factors affect climate.

I am optimistic that we can successfully adapt to whatever changes happen.

Even with the fluctuating climate and weather patterns we have seen over the last 100 years...never have we had such a more stable and reliable food supply as we have today even as we have added billions.

Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

I'm curious: did anyone take a look at the link I posted. No one has mentioned it.

Vista, CA


Yes I read it, and the main thing i got from it is a reminder that personal conflicts of interest are one of the hardest things for people to handle.

While the fellow does seem to be a Republican, he also has several patents in the Renewable Energy Field, so it is only natural that he wants to see more Green Energy, and more income from his patents, and less Fossil Fuels, and that apparently has made him a proponent of Carbon Control and a believer in AGW.

His reason for his bias was so obvious i did not bother to comment.


Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

So because he's sensible enough to develop some companies that assist in dealing with the crisis he feels is coming, he has a conflict of interest and can't be believed? Interesting point of view.

Sierra Vista, AZ(Zone 8b)

Here's an interesting article touching on climate change, GMOs, and organic foods. It's really more about science and evidence than it is about any specific aspect I just mentioned:

You reject GMOs but acknowledge climate change, you reject climate change but accept GMOs, you say potayto, I say potahto.... (Actually, I say potayto!)

Vista, CA


That must be your point of view as it is certainly not mine. I did not address whether he should be believed or not. I am sure you believed what he said before you read his article, which is fine with me.

Generally speaking, the hysteria about AGW is in conflict with the general Republican belief, along with 60% of the American people, who are sketical.

The conflict of interest arises when he purports to be a conservative but espouses the liberal mantra that will enhance the profits from his patents.

If that is not clear enough i will give you another example. A man that claims he is against the Death Penalty, but is in the business of Making and selling Electric Chairs to Prisons to be used to execute people clearly has a conflict of interest.


Southern NJ, United States(Zone 7a)

Of course there's a conflict in your example, but in that case the individual isn't attempting to alleviate a perceived danger to society but simply to make a product that he's hoping to sell. To me there's no conflict here; although it's difficult to be sure from the article, I suspect the person went into the field he entered because he felt that there would be a definite need for it in the future and he wanted to meet that need. If climate change isn't a problem his enterprises won't be particularly lucrative regardless of how many people he convinces with his comments. And he acknowledges that the Republican party line is to deny climate change; his point is that not all Republicans agree.

Now what about the people who want to tax solar installations because they have huge investments in fossil fuel; there's a conflict for you.

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