Climate change

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I'm half way through a Michael Crichton book about eco-terrorists trying to cause environmental disasters world wide to try and focus attention on the destruction of the planet. Of course it's all fiction, but Crichton does love to insert believable 'facts' into his book, and this one is no exception. The main message in the book though, is that global warming is not happening. He backs this up by providing a bibliography in the appendix, and by dropping little bombshells throughout the book. Examples would be that there are no rises in sea levels, the antarctic ice sheet is actually thickening (and the edges which are melting, have been doing so for the last 6000 years) and that mean temperatures over the last 100 years have actually been falling. Ok, so it is a work of fiction but it got me thinking.

Anyway, although this all smacks of the old conspiracy theorists arguments, I did a quick bit of googling last night and discovered some startling facts about 'the global warming myth'. Enough to make me go hmmmm! anyway.

So are we going to be spending our summer holidays basking on the tropical beaches and under the swaying fonds of palm trees on Greenlands coasts or is it all a huge lie propogated by Dubya, as an excuse to murder penguins for their liver oil.

A few random links to start the debate.

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I think the problem with this 'debate' is that there are really two facets:

 

1) Is Global Warming happening?

2) Is it caused by man?

 

I'm pretty sure #1 is a conclusive yes among scientists

Whereas #2 is more debatable, with a consensus forming around yes

 

Either way, for Michael Crichton: When you want a second opinion on a medical condition, do you go ask an author?

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I personally think its codswollop that we are the primary cause - I believe that the planet goes up and down in temperature over time and it's just doing an up-shift at the moment and there is nothign we can do to majorly influence it. But that is just a hunch/feeling/belief of mine and I have done no real research to back up my claims. I think it's time I did, then I could join in with these discussions properly...

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I have done no real research to back up my claims. I think it's time I did, then I could join in with these discussions properly...

Oh come on, that usually doesn't stop people! Certainly not myself! :)

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Oh you wanted an argument? I thought you wanted abuse. Sorry!

 

edit: I love how we can go from global warming to Python in 2 posts (y)

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mean temperatures over the last 100 years have actually been falling.

They have? :unsure:

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I too would like some proof showing that mean temperatures have been falling for the last 100 years. What I've read is that they have significantly gone up, hence the problem.

 

I think that people on both have agenda's, and that clouds the facts behind this issue. However you should consider what these agenda's are. You have the non-global warming faction, these are normally "screw the environment, I like driving my truck, my factory spews out heaps of crap but it would cost me more money if it didn't" type of people. On the other hand you have people that are concerned (maybe sometimes overly concerned, if there is such a thing) about the environment. Without being an expert on the subject, you should probably stick with the latter..

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This argument that temperatures always rise and fall is pretty short-sighted. Of course there are fluctuations, but rarely on this scale and never this quickly. As far as I'm concerned, this debate is over: once George W. Bush accepts that humans are causing global warming, as he did in his State of the Union address last year, then you know you have a reasonable consensus. There will always be the occasional scientist who disagrees (there are some "scientists" still arguing that gravity is a liberal conspiracy), but every single respected scientific organisation who has studied the issue has come to the same conclusion: humans are probably the cause of climate change, with enough certainty to warrant immediate action.

 

Forgive me for quoting myself, but I typed all this out the other day and it's very relevant:

 

 

The most respected scientific body studying the issue is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN body. They released their first report in 1990, which warned of global warming but could not be certain that it was human-induced. By January 2007, they concluded that human actions are "very likely" the cause of global warming, meaning a 90% or greater probability. All other respected organisations studying the issue - from the American Meteorological Society to the Royal Society - had already reached that conclusion. You can see the full details at the Wikipedia article Scientific opinion on climate change.

 

As with any scientific issue, no-one can say with 100% authority that climate change is human induced, but the evidence is strong enough for us to assume that it is. From this position, it would be reckless of any government not to take action to reduce CO2 emissions. Even George W. Bush now recognises this - so much for your drunken "liberal scum" slur. It may indeed transpire that humans are not responsible, but the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is that we are. In my opinion, sheer common sense tells us we are. How can we be pumping this much pollution into the air and not expect there to be some kind of reaction?

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I have a couple of friends who have actually studied the stuff and they maintain it definitely exists, the problem that is. I believe them more than others who tend not to have studied the material and are naturally against it. One problem with temperatures in the last 100 years is that we've only been measuring them since 1878. Besides, natural disasters - can't remember the name of the volcano which exploded in the late 19th century - are capable of pumping way more shit in the atmosphere than we have and the world has been a bit funny for a year or so and then been fine again. Climates change. Why must winter start in December? What was December a thousand years ago? Besides, having just come back from a bloody freezing Canada, I find it hard to believe the world is getting warmer. But maybe I would've been saying something else if I'd gone to Canada a year before...

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This argument that temperatures always rise and fall is pretty short-sighted. Of course there are fluctuations, but rarely on this scale and never this quickly.

Actually the IPCC's reports say otherwise. It's all happened before, and sometimes more quickly even in the last 15,000 years, which is an insignificant amount of time in terms of climate.

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This argument that temperatures always rise and fall is pretty short-sighted. Of course there are fluctuations, but rarely on this scale and never this quickly.

OK, i'm gonna go out on an uninformed limb here... What about the ice age?

 

Also, although I am in the belief that it is not human induced, I certainly believe that we should do everything we can to to cut co2 emissions and the like as they will certainly be a contributing factor - I just don't think it's the *main* factor.

 

Can anyone suggest some good readings for me to research(both for and against) other than just random googled interweb nonsense?

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Have a read of the IPCC reports, especialy the 2001 one on the scientific basis (the new report isn't yet published). If you read critically they are full of contradictions.

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Besides, having just come back from a bloody freezing Canada, I find it hard to believe the world is getting warmer.

Global warming isn't a particularly good description - scientists call it climate change because although average global temperatures will rise, some areas will become colder, for example as a result of the Gulf Stream being pushed further north. Climate change will also have other climatic impacts than just the temperature - precipitation patterns will change, storms will become more intense, etc.

 

 

OK, i'm gonna go out on an uninformed limb here... What about the ice age?

Ice ages are triggered by a relatively small drop in temperature (a couple of degrees) over a prolonged period - hundreds to thousands of years. Four degrees in fifty years is not a small change over a prolonged period.

 

 

Can anyone suggest some good readings for me to research(both for and against) other than just random googled interweb nonsense?

The IPCC reports, which the "random googled interweb nonsense" that I linked to talked about.

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The IPCC reports, which the "random googled interweb nonsense" that I linked to talked about.

hey hey.. I was not implying that your links were nonsense. I was implying that anything I would find, with a quick google search while not really knowing what I am looking for, would be :)

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Besides, having just come back from a bloody freezing Canada, I find it hard to believe the world is getting warmer. But maybe I would've been saying something else if I'd gone to Canada a year before...

I was watching Fox news (I know I shouldn't) about a month ago, and they were talking about the extreme cold snap they had in California. Of course, they were playing it up like global warming doesn't exist and had a panel of 4 "experts", of whom none were experts at all, confirming it.. laughable really..

 

The type of global warming that scientists are talking about is in the range that most people simply wouldn't notice. If you have a hot winter (like we have had) this almost certainly has nothing to do with global warming. A rise of a few degree's and retreating glaciers certainly does though.

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Ice ages are triggered by a relatively small drop in temperature (a couple of degrees) over a prolonged period - hundreds to thousands of years. Four degrees in fifty years is not a small change over a prolonged period.

Actually ice ages are the Earth's default condition. We don't know why we are currently in an inter-glacial, or what might cause it to end, or virtually anything else about long term climate trends. It's way too complicated and chaotic and we have very little evidence to go on.

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