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 Cold, Hard facts take the heat out of some hot claims

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Don
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:55 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Josh wrote:
I guess there's a bit of an argument there...


No argument at all, depends solely on your point of view: From a human perspective extinction of the human race might be regrettable (only before the fact), from nature's point of view we're a fly on the windscreen.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:03 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I guess we'd take quite a lot down with us when we do eventually go down. And if we are a fly on the window then we must be a pretty big fly, as I doubt any other single species has ever had such a large effect on the world - although that may of course be a human-centric viewpoint.

I'm not quite so worried about what will be happening in 1000 years time when for all we know humans may well have made themselves extinct, as it's well and truly out of my hands. But what's happening in 50 or 70 years time, that concerns me. And there is something we can do about how that will turn out.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 12:10 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Scares me half to death, I tell ya. Mad

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 5:16 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I wish there was something profound to say at this point in the discussion but I cant think of anything. I certainly dont have the ultimate answer. The closest I have ever come to a solution involves raising the consciousness of humanity. That we, as human beings, have the potential of being conscious is the only thing that sets us apart from everything else on this incredible planet.

I spent decades teaching about geography everything from global warming to overpopulation to resource depletion and on and on and on all with the central theme of raising the awareness (consciousness?) of students to their environment. I can only guess at how much of it was successful not much I think. But I did have some success with one particular venture. And being an old fart let me indulge myself by telling you the story.

Years ago, I would take groups of about twenty junior students (average age of 16) on a voluntary camping excursion in a protected wilderness area for a three day trip. After a substantial lunch on the first day I would position each student out of site of all others, in a safe location in the forest, with a 25 foot piece of string tied to their belt loop anchored to a tree or rock or whatever. All they had was a clip board/pencil/paper, water bottle, pocket knife, bug spray, rain gear and a whistle (for emergency) and no watches. They were given no instructions on what to do except not to break the string. They remained in their position for 5 hours before I collected them to return to the lodge for a fabulous dinner of my famous spaghetti sauce.

Now you gotta know that for a teenager, the first hour or so of sitting all alone in a forest with no entertainment, food, electronics or anyone to talk to was profoundly difficult. But in almost every case (except for the few who fell asleep) something magic began to happen as the time elapsed. No matter where they were situated, the students began to actually see their environment. They wrote and sketched and dug into the ground and shinnied up trees; followed bugs, whistled to birds, collected leaves, watched clouds and on and on and on. I could go on for pages remembering their experiences.

In the evening we would sit in the main room and discuss what they had seen. As a teacher I cant begin to relate how satisfying it was to listen to a group of turned on, animated kids, all trying to out do each other with the stories of what they had experienced and how neat was their particular location. All on their own they had realized something profound.

In reality, all that had happened was that they had, by necessity, turned off the noise of a superficial world and dialed into the wonder of Mother Nature. They had become conscious of their environment and, for just a moment, appreciated what it had to offer.

I tell you this story because I think it applies to the discussion here in terms of searching for an answer to our common dilemma. No, we all cant sit in a forest tied to a tree to gain the knowledge of the importance of our natural environment. But the only hope we have is for the world to become conscious without that there really is no hope. How that is accomplished is beyond my knowledge.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 5:56 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Don wrote:
And don't worry about planet earth, it will survive us perfectly well and there even is hope that evolution will come forward with something truly intelligent next time around. The evolution of mankind certainly is nothing that needs to be repeated.


I happen to agree with Don, so i better get my head checked.

Planet would do just fine without us. It is just our overesteem that we think we are someting in grand scheme of things. Rats and cockroaches have more place to be here than us - they have their purpose in ecosystem - we don't, other than causing an mess of everything we touch.

We are just an upstart species that happened to develop an anomaly in cerebral cortex of brain.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 7:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Gold Hat wrote:

That the world's climate is warming due to human activity is a fact.


Sorry mate, but that is not a fact. That is theory actually. The earth's temperature is cyclical. The earth has been hotter than it is right now. That is a fact.

The earth has had many years of changing temperatures. It is part of time. Consider this: We have had a number of Ice Ages. Some severe, some moderate. Well, something must have ended the Ice Ages. What would that have been? Warmer temperatures. Were the cave men really living it up to the point of killing those Ice Ages? I think not.

And for that matter, who is at liberty to say what the Earth's temperature should be? I'm sorry, but I don't think anyone can. That's like saying the sun is too hot or Pluto is too cold. I am quite confident that we are in no position to say whether or not the Earth's temperature is too hot.

I think that we need to be reasonable with our choices. Conservation is only logical. But it is interesting to me that the same people who speak out about the need for more fuel efficient cars have no problem hopping on a plane and flying across the country to go shopping. And I don't think many people realize the harm on the environment that these hybrid car batteries cause on the environment. They are far worse than anything gasoline could cause.

Gold Hat- this wasn't directed at you. Just a general statement. And I hope I have said my point in a non-political manner. I have tried to provide objective facts. We'll see how many Mod edits it gets. Laughing

EDIT: One comment about the knock at Rush for being a druggie. I will preface this with the statement that I am somewhat indifferent towards Rush.

Whether or not Rush has used Oxycontin in the past does not take away from his credibility to report news. He's not operating heavy machines here. Now, if you think the news he reports is false, then that is one thing. But to bring a person's drug habbit into it is simply foolish and redundant.

That would be the equivalent of me bashing Al Gore, the pioneer of all things green, for having a son who went to jail on drug charges. That makes him no less credible at all.

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Hekate
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 7:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Weather conditions here just now are spookily similar to those in Europe just before the Black Death broke out in the 1300s.... Twisted Evil In England especially, there was increased rainfall/flooding - you can see it in many farm sites - houses were demolished and rebuilt, but with heavily cobbled yards, and with the timber frames of the buildings set on stone sills. They also looked for sites with better natural drainage.

Plus, aren't we meant to be coming to the end of an interstadial?

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Josh
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

jojobean wrote:
The earth has had many years of changing temperatures. It is part of time. Consider this: We have had a number of Ice Ages. Some severe, some moderate. Well, something must have ended the Ice Ages. What would that have been? Warmer temperatures. Were the cave men really living it up to the point of killing those Ice Ages? I think not.


I don't think the point is whether the earth has been hotter or colder in the past or not. We do know for a fact that it was much warmer during the ages of the Dinosaurs than it is now, that jungles and savannahs existed over what is now more temperate grasslands and wooded areas. Heck even Antarctica was more pleasant (and further north, which would partially explain that).

I think the point when it comes to climate change is that what's happening is happening really fast, at least at a historical level. We also know that raised Cardon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere would have the effect of raising temperatures, and we know that we are largely the cause of raised carbon dioxide levels. Sure the earth has been warmer in the past, but perhaps that had disastrous results as well, even though it happened slower. Do we really want to take the risk that global warming is a storm in a teacup?

Quite a few years ago I had a bit more of a "meh" attitude towards climate change and environmental destruction in general. The problem seemed to large and unsolvable it was almost like "we're so screwed why should we even try?" It seemed like the worst stuff would probably happen after I was dead anyway, so I wouldn't know how badly we'd screwed up the world. Then I became a father, and started thinking about how I wanted the world for my daughter (her and children in the future) to be. I started to recognise the true purpose of ideas such as sustainable development, to make sure that the needs of future generations can be provided for by taking much better care of the environment.

Yes it is a human-centric point of view in many ways, yet so it should be. While we may never be able to halt climate change, or completely stop our negative effects on the environment, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try.

@ Gold Hat, great story about the nature trips. That kind of stuff must just show how rewarding being a teacher can be.

(Slightly off topic below)

I remember back in primary school (would have been in 1990 I think) we had a sort of similar lesson to teach us about what apartheid was in South Africa. They got three classes together, and split them into two groups: those who had joined the school so far that year (probably about 15%) and those who had been at the school the previous year. The new students were then given fun tasks to do, like drawing with nice coloured pens on high quality paper while we had to draw a dull bowl with pencil on newsprint. They got to go outside and play while we had to clean up the classrooms. It was amazing the effect, some kids were ropeable, threatening to tell their parents because it was just sooooo unfair. At the end of the hour or two this happened for we were collected back together and explained that the new people represented the situation of the whites in Africa and the rest of us the blacks. I don't think there could have been a better way to teach us about it, as it has stuck with me throughout the past 17 years, and probably has stuck with other kids too. Just goes to show what the effect of a powerful lesson can be.

At the end we all got to play soccer while the new kids cleaned up the mess that had happened. It was a good feeling Very Happy

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:25 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

jojobean wrote:


Sorry mate, but that is not a fact. That is theory actually. The earth's temperature is cyclical. The earth has been hotter than it is right now. That is a fact.


Point well taken. The net offers this definition of theory:
Quote:
a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; "theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses"; "true in fact and theory"


That the earth is warming due to the greenhouse effect has been established by the collection of empirical data that is data based on observation, experiment and practical experience. Therefore it is now considered to be a fact. The credible scientific community no longer debates this fact. Yes, there are various debates on certain aspects and nuances of this topic nonetheless it is considered to be fact. Even McIntyre, whose mathematical work began this thread, agrees that there is a greenhouse effect.

It is interesting to me that you have chosen glaciology as your major field of rebuttal. My university training focused on glacial geomorphology so I have some studied awareness of the topic. Yes, we are definitely now in an interglacial period (not interstadial), the last ice sheet (Wisconsin in North America) having melted about 10 to15,000 years ago with the end of the Pleistocene Epoch. And you can bet that the earth will experience another ice age there is lots of evidence to suggest that. But the question is Do we want to hasten the return of an ice age as the result of our human activity?

Here is just one example of how the unnatural heating of the atmosphere may create an ice age.

There is no question that the polar caps and mountain glaciers are melting at a faster and faster rate than observed in the near and distant past. The super cold water flowing from the polar regions is now effecting ocean currents such as the Labrador Current that flows south between Canada and Greenland to mix with the North Atlantic current. The result has been a major shift in weather effecting the weather in countries bordering the north Atlantic as well as many, many other negative effects too numerous to list here. It is believed that eventually, the cooling effect of polar currents will significantly reduce the temperature of the earth as a whole and thereby precipitating another ice age. It is a question of balancing the earths thermal budget.

So yes, temperature is important. And regarding your point of who is to say what the Earth's temperature should be, I would suggest that Mother Nature is the best judge of that along with the myriad of plant and animal species that are now going extinct due to global warming.

And Limbaugh deserves total disdain in my opinion. He is an enormous hypocrite who regularly poured venom on defenseless people because of their habits even while he was stoned himself. He panders to the basest level of society with his sophistry and outright lies he is not a news person he is a disgrace.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 2:05 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I blame science and technology for all of the problems that the planet is facing. Without S&T plagues, famine, disease, and drought would still exist and the human herd would be thinned more naturally

People would still live in caves or what ever they could find as nomads. Only the strong would survive and balance would be restored. Shocked

I also think that since S&T got us into this, "they" should lead by example and clean up their act. This includes being the first to make the ultimate sacrifice for the planet. Rolling Eyes

Where is that tinfoil hat?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 8:35 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Daniel Quinn used a rather enlightening metaphor in his book "Ishmael" (excellent book, lousy film): Mankind is behaving like we were sitting in some sort of flying machine we drove over a cliff and now, mid-air, we realize it doesn't fly. Of course we're still falling, mid-air, so the outcome isn't logically clear. Many people in that flying machine are convinced that basically the machine should work, is supposed to work and we just need to make its wings flap harder. No one opens their eyes to the fact that the whole thing simply doesn't function that way, that the whole construction is screwed.

And that's what we do: We simply go ahead in the same direction, we just try to flap harder. So of course fuel efficient cars aren't a solution. If you have lived on this planet for over 30 years and compare your childhood memories to your natural surroundings now it should be pretty evident that we're in the process of severely fucking up mother earth to a point beyond repair.

Leaning back in your armchair doing nothing, saying (not without a smirk expression) "hey, I don't believe in THAT theory" is the quickest way to go down and wait for the result. Hence my statement in my earlier post: Only by going ahead the way we do we can later tell who's wrong and who's right. It's just gonna be too late, but hey.

It is a comforting thought that in cosmic dimensions we're a pretty useless prototype and certainly no one would cry about our absence. Wink

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:21 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The twentieth century is already one of the biggest extinction events of all time, and global warming looks to make it even more pronounced. Maybe we can beat the meteorite that killed off the dinosaurs; it's good to have an ambition. Of course, there's a good chance that if we manage that, we will be one of the species that dies off, but that's OK, it is yet far from proven that intelligence is a positive survival trait. Even the dinosaurs were around ten times longer than we have been, and consider the woodlouse and the silverfish - they were around before we even considered turning into fish.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:19 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
we're a pretty useless prototype and certainly no one would cry about our absence.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 10:24 am Reply with quoteBack to top

One thing that should somewhat convince people who do not think that Global Warming is a problem we can or should do something about:

I think resource depletion, namely of a very fundamental resource, oil, is a very serious problem. A problem that is not fully recognized so far, although it is very imminent.

Some hard and verifyable facts about this (and there is much more that could be listed here)
- we are consuming much, much more oil than we find. Consuming rates have gone up, and discovery rates have gone down for a long time already.
- we do not know how much oil is really left. We simply do not know it. At least we do not know this for the most crucial oil producer, Saudi Arabia. We do know however that virtually all non-OPEC oil producers have peaked and that it is certain (and no one argues against that!) that non-OPEC production will go down in the future. Not in the distant future, but starting from now.
- there are strong indicators that the biggest oil field in the world, Ghawar, is in decline, and that the claims made by Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries about their reserves are exaggerated
- the biggest Mexican oil field - very important for the US market - Cantarell, is collapsing at the moment. Most of the other big oil fields are also in decline.
- at the moment it is simply not possible to replace all the oil that will be missing in the future by alternative energies.
- the most relevant people who sound the alarm bell about "Peak oil" - google that! - are NOT enviromentalists, but oil industry figures, investment bankers and geologists. Yes, there are lots of whackos and end-of-world-types also campaigning about this, but the very fact that leading oil industry executives tell the public that we should use less oil and replace it with other energy sources as soon as possible should tell you something.
- the debate is not anymore about whether "peak oil" will happen, the debate it about *when* it will happen. Some people say that it is happening right now. The most optimistic people say it will happen somewhere between 2020 and 2030. But even if the optimists are correct- is what is currently done enough to replace the missing oil? I do not think so.

I think it is quite clear that whether you take Global Warming seriously or not - we have to stop using so much oil. Starting yesterday.

Why is this, unlike Global Warming, not a frontpage topic? I think because it is so damn scary.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 11:34 am Reply with quoteBack to top

corona wrote:
Speak for your darn self. beating


I do speak for myself. If I had spoken about you I'd have phrased differently.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 12:10 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

@ Meyer - excellent points there. I think that was what I was trying to say in my first post on this topic, that in many ways climate change overwhelms other important environmental issues such as peak oil. When fuel becomes more and more expensive the effects will be more wide reaching than just paying more at the pumps - think increasing plastic prices, think increasing freighting charges. That's particularly important for enormous import countries such as New Zealand and the USA where most of our stuff these days comes from China rather than being made in our respective countries. When it becomes four times more expensive to ship anything to the destination country simply because of oil prices it's going to hurt.

This counts for air travel as now. I'd be worried being a company such as Airbus or Boeing, or alternatively any airline. For all we know in 15 years time fuel costs may be way more than they are now, forcing up the price of air travel. All of this is of course speculation, but if we don't know when oil fields are going to run out, and we also know that demand is increasing enormously for fuel in China and India, then there's an enormous amount of doubt in the future when it comes to whether or not we'll have enough fuel for our demands.

I definitely don't think peak oil gets enough press.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 12:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Don knows that he doesn't need my comments to validate him, nevertheless what I will say is that his comments are the most lucid and intelligent that I've seen on this thread so far, and will ring true long after we've all gone.

More fuel efficient cars? Newer types of fossil fuels? Increasing airport taxes? Turn down the thermostat by 2 degrees? Share a bath?
Pointless, pointless gestures by a species which has, in less than 100 years, spoiled the planet already.
And yet we're all still too greedy and self absorbed to share a lift to work in the mornings, let alone to stop burning fossil fuels altogether.

Bravo Don.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 12:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Earth will "expire" by 2050

I suppose if enough people try to cut down on all these things, including big business (which most defiantly won't) we could prolong it for a bit...

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 12:44 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 12:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

The most interesting part of the "debate" about global warning is that none of us know how our future selves will react. Think back to the 70s when the world was on the brink of an "overpopulation calamity" -- there was simply no way we could sustain ourselves with enough food and shelter to support all the billions of people. But, science and ingenuity took care of that problem and while many millions live in squalor the fact is that they are living -- their quality of life is the next dilemma.

As for global warming -- let's stop wondering about the "why" and get down to the "what" -- as in, what are we going to do about it. With rising water levels, and warmer temps, we're going to see a migration of insects and other parasites northward. We're going to see more floods, hurricanes and other weather-related problems. Species will die off as others flourish. It's well beyond the matter of stopping, or laughingly, reversing the issue. No, we need to adapt to a new way of life.

We bipedal, pink, big-brained humans don't stand a chance without our technology, and if we don't kill ourselves off through war, we had better start innovating to figure out how to live in a world that is simultaneously more hostile, but also, more habitable -- we'll have an increased range of property (i.e. the Arctic and the Antarctic) to live on, and really, who knows what kind of discoveries we might yet make.

When the glaciers receded, we didn't stand idly by and worry about how to handle the lack of ice -- we as a species moved on. It may not be pretty, but my guess is we'll survive but things will be different, and that's what most people don't want to admit.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:04 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Sorry, but wasn't the no politics/religion rule invented to curb the level of this sort of thing:

Quote:
Quote:
some part of some tangled argument with no paragrapsh and typed in a hurry so not to have spelling or teh grammar.


My response to part of argument ritten in equally hurry and there for making just as much sense

Quote:
The next quoted part of previous post What I disagree with


My reply, which does just as much to help current matters as the preceding part of the debacle.

Quote:
Some piece of statistical information, which wasn't cited with relevant links


My reply stating my disagreement with this statistic, due to it's being made up, used obliquely/disingenuously in some way or not having anything to do with the OP (which everyone has forgotten about anyway)


And this:

Quote:
If you two can't be bothered to check your spelling and grammar then you shouldn't even be having this argument. Only persons who can not only spell the word "pyrrhic", but also state in less than fifty words, why the word relates to everything that has been said above, should be allowed to discuss topics of such magnitude


Because I recon this thread is about three posts away from there.
Should the Politics/Religion umbrella be extended to include the weather?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:06 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Josh wrote:
When fuel becomes more and more expensive the effects will be more wide reaching than just paying more at the pumps - think increasing plastic prices, think increasing freighting charges. That's particularly important for enormous import countries such as New Zealand and the USA where most of our stuff these days comes from China rather than being made in our respective countries. When it becomes four times more expensive to ship anything to the destination country simply because of oil prices it's going to hurt.


I think there is even more: If as a result of oil depletion biofuel is becoming more important (and that is what happening right now) it also means that food prices go up significantly (also already happening), because acreages that were in the past used to grow corn for example will be increasingly used to grow plants for biofuels instead. This hurts at a very basic level.

Add to that the fact that if non-OPEC countries peak, we will be increasingly dependent on countries that are unstable, run by extremists and/or thugs and crooks. Have a look at the OPEC membership list. Are these countries where terms like "reliable", "stable", "good governance" etc come to mind? Don't think so. Laughing

And: I think a lot of people will be very upset when they suddenly realize that they will not be able anymore to afford gas for their cars, when they are confronted with power blackouts. I fear many of them will not accept geological reasons as the source for this, but will rather look for someone to blame.

I see this not primarily as an enviromental problem (although it certainly is also an enviromental issue), but rather as an economical and political one. How do you run an economy that is based on growth with decreasing resources? In particular if the resource that is decreasing happens to be the most basic of all?

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:10 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I don't see any politics involved in this topic, everyone is giving their opinion. The thread was originally about the article which sought of stemmed into general global warming discussion which so far has been flame free and no one dares have bad spelling/grammar in the presence of Don.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 3:19 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I'm studying physics in University right now, so I'd thought I'd give a physicist's insight into the global warming debate.

One of the major research groups in my university deals with Fusion, specifically an economicly viable method. The head of the team gave us a talk on Fusion last year and had a few tidbits about the enviornment in case any enviormentalists showed up.

The strongest image was a graph on the rate of change of the average temperature of the planet based on data collected in the UK since before the industrial revolution compared to CO2 concentrations in the air. There is a natrual rise in temperature every year due to internal processes of the Earth, aswell as fluctuations in the Sun. These processes were responsible for a lot of the natural climate changes in our history. When the CO2 concentration began rising due to industry, so did the rate at which the Earth heated, by a dramatic amount. The type of dramatic that doesn't randomly happen but needs an external effect to cause it. While the Earth has been hotter in the past, there was no evidence that the temperature rose as quickly as it has been doing.

In the example in the link that the OP posted, it's an example of "I found an exception to the most plausible theory! It is completely wrong!" approach to scientific debate. But peer-review requires more than finding a few flaws. To truly debunk a theory you must explain everything it explains correctly with a new one in as much detail as the old one. There are no anti-global warming models that link up with what we have been seeing as well as global warming, no other reasons for a random jump unlike anything recorded happening at the industrial revolution. Neither does it take into account that now it is hotter than the 90s, which was hotter than the 80s, than was hotter than the 70s. Random jumps for a relatively short time period is one thing, but this rise in between jumps is completely different.

However, as an experimental physicist I must stress that I am required to have an open mind, so should another plausable theory come along to explan the dramatic change without the industrial revolution having an effect then that's fine with me. Sometimes coincidences can happen. To people like me that is the "missing link" that anti-global warming theories need to close before they can be taken seriously as a viable alternative.

Of course, even if global warming is a paranoid farce there's still the myriad other enviormental problems with fossil fuels, as well as their limited stocks. Finding alternatives is still important.

(Also in my second year I had to prove that CO2 did effect the rate at which a system was heated by light. I got a pretty huge increase in the rate of change of it's temperature, especially for humid enviorments. But all that shows is that CO2 does have greenhouse properties, some say that in the upper atmosphere it can behave differently. Whether or not this is true is not my place to say)

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:45 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Guys, I got to thinking...

In January the average high temperature here was around 50. This past month it has been near 98. SO, at this rate, by this time in 2010 the average high temperature is going to be several hundred degrees. Shocked

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