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Woebot
09-03-2007, 08:17 AM
(discussion)

noel emits
09-03-2007, 09:07 AM
Buckyballs!

http://www.ydae.purdue.edu/ANE/images/colorBuckyball.jpg

Nanotubes!

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/5/53/Types_of_Carbon_Nanotubes.png/330px-Types_of_Carbon_Nanotubes.png

swears
09-03-2007, 09:45 AM
Is this thread about carbon emmisions or just carbon in general?

Mr. Tea
09-03-2007, 12:25 PM
'Carbon emmissions' is a rather lazy term (not having a go, swears, I know everyone uses it), people should say 'carbon dioxide emmissions' if that's what they mean - methane, which also contains carbon, is a much worse greenhouse gas (weight for weight), while chloroflourocarbons are worse still.

So a ton of carbon in the form of CFCs is much worse, environmentally, than a ton of carbon in CO2.

HMGovt
09-03-2007, 12:39 PM
GRAPHENE - a single sheet of graphite only one atom thick with. Useful for making single electron transistors. Way cool.

http://www.technologyreview.com/Infotech/18264/

Woebot
09-03-2007, 12:46 PM
remember the whole "cows farting" spiel that the USA laid on us before kyoto?

well apparently it aint such a joke. (i think) it's a source of approx 15% of our carbon!

which is a good argument for being a vegan they say...

Mr. Tea
09-03-2007, 12:48 PM
The main downside being, you don't get to eat lovely, lovely meat...

dHarry
09-03-2007, 01:32 PM
George Monbiot seems to me to be the most reliable watchdog on the sorry state of the planet vis-a-vis carbon emissions and governments' failur eto do anything about it. (And I have to say that Woebot's derisory comments about him here not so long ago were misleading and unfair.)

This is well worth reading. (http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2007/03/05/just-a-lot-of-hot-air/#more-1045)

noel emits
09-03-2007, 01:50 PM
Seems my response was inappropriate, sorry haha.

Buckyballs are kool tho.

Mr. Tea
09-03-2007, 02:17 PM
Seems my response was inappropriate, sorry haha.

Buckyballs are kool tho.

I don't think so - if it was meant to be a 'carbon emmissions' thread, it should have been called that.

swears
09-03-2007, 02:32 PM
Right, I'm not really up on my science, so this question may seem a bit daft but it's something I've wondered for a while now. Can we actually reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere by cutting emissions, or are we simply stopping the situation getting any worse? Where does the excess carbon dioxide go? Into the water supply, into the earth...or is it up there forever?

Mr. Tea
09-03-2007, 02:46 PM
CO2 is naturally soaked up by plants: they use the carbon to form carbohydrates (sugars, starches and cellulose) and output oxygen (O2). So if human CO2 emmissions suddenly stopped - or were even just reduced to a manageable level - the excess CO2 in the atmosphere would eventually be reduced to the natural equilibrium level. I have no idea how long this would take, mind you. The problem at the moment is that CO2 emmissions are continuously increasing, while the amount of rainforest (they're not called 'the lungs of the planet' for nothing) is constantly decreasing.

dHarry
09-03-2007, 02:49 PM
Trees use ("fix") carbon; animals exhale, flatulate and emit (in the case of industrial humans) carbon. When trees die the insects, rot etc. which break them down release their carbon again. More trees = less carbon in the atmosphere. Unfortunately trees and the related eco-systems of large rain-forests etc. are being razed all over the planet.
[edit - apologies for simul-post with Mr.Tea's above]

swears
09-03-2007, 02:56 PM
Oh yeah, I remember now. Animals produce carbon dioxide and plants produce oxygen. That's primary school biology. Christ, I can be dense sometimes.

Mr. Tea
09-03-2007, 10:58 PM
Oh yeah, I remember now. Animals produce carbon dioxide and plants produce oxygen. That's primary school biology. Christ, I can be dense sometimes.

Don't feel bad - you can be bothered to spell correctly and form proper sentences, which officially puts you in the top 0.1% of the Internet. :)

tryptych
11-03-2007, 09:25 AM
Actually, some recent research has shown plants themselves (along with animals) produce a lot of "greenhouse" emissions - so simply re-foresting may not make things any better...

I will dig up the ref.

Grievous Angel
11-03-2007, 11:43 AM
I believe (and I am quite happy to be corrected) that the optimal way to get trees to capture carbon is to grow them big and then cut them down while planting more. I.e., not let them rot or be burnt. One of the best things to do with the wood is to use it in construction, so that the carbon in the wood just stays there for decades or centuries.

Anyone got an idea about the sunspots theory? And whether these guys have taken the $10K offered by Texaco for anti-global warming research? It all sounds like nonsense to me but I'm no scientist.

Mr. Tea
11-03-2007, 04:21 PM
Actually, some recent research has shown plants themselves (along with animals) produce a lot of "greenhouse" emissions - so simply re-foresting may not make things any better...

I will dig up the ref.

That sounds a bit odd. I think plants respire (i.e. use up energy stores like animals do, giving off CO^2 as a waste product) at night, but that they generally give off less CO^2 than they absorb, which is how the early Earth's CO^2-rich atmosphere got converted into an O^2-rich one in the first place, allowing animals to evolve. Er. I think.

dHarry
12-03-2007, 10:38 AM
But as the planet heats up the recycling (rotting) process gets accelerated so more carbon is released...

Mr. Tea
12-03-2007, 12:45 PM
But as the planet heats up the recycling (rotting) process gets accelerated so more carbon is released...

Yeah, there are all sorts of suspected feedback-type effects going on - I think seawater is meant to be able to absorb a certain amount of CO2, but its ability to do this is affected by temperature, which is in turn affected by CO2 levels. This introduces (yet more) non-linearities into the equations used to model climate change, making it (even) harder to predict future trends. Having said that, it looks like most of the predictions made in the last ten years or so were under-estimates. :confused:

MATT MAson
12-03-2007, 01:51 PM
What do you think this little guy is emitting?

http://www.infotainmentcrap.com/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1173686812&archive=&start_from=&ucat=&

Plants deciding they are no longer vegetarians is the last thing we need...

Mr. Tea
12-03-2007, 02:07 PM
What do you think this little guy is emitting?

http://www.infotainmentcrap.com/index.php?subaction=showfull&id=1173686812&archive=&start_from=&ucat=&

Plants deciding they are no longer vegetarians is the last thing we need...

How many plants 'eat' other plants? :slanted:

MATT MAson
12-03-2007, 02:53 PM
A few.

They are known as epiphytes.

Mr. Tea
12-03-2007, 03:13 PM
I think epiphytes grow on other other plants without deriving nutrients from them - like moss on a tree-trunk - as opposed to true parasites like mistletoe.

Just yesterday, as it happens, I was reading on WP about myco-heterotrophs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myco-heterotrophs) which sound pretty weird - apparently they can act as epiparasites in plants (parasites that live on a parasite!). Crazy stuff. :rolleyes:

HMGovt
12-03-2007, 10:24 PM
The Great Global Warming Swindle

http://video.google.co.uk/videoplay?docid=9005566792811497638&q=climate+change+swindle

Assertions: CO2 changes follow temperature changes, CO2 is not a cause of climate change it is an effect. Thatcher lofted the idea of global warming due to CO2 to bolster the nuclear industry against oil, gas and coal for energy security and union smashing reasons. And so on...

MATT MAson
12-03-2007, 11:30 PM
This documentary has been heavily criticized, a lot of the people involved in it have since come out against it.

Full story here:

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2347526.ece

HMGovt
12-03-2007, 11:54 PM
This documentary has been heavily criticized, a lot of the people involved in it have since come out against it.

Full story here:

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2347526.ece

Only Professor Wunsch is mentioned in that article. The previous film he was criticised for maintained that genetically modified crops might not be all bad, as far as I can gather. It was a thought-provoking show anyhow.

shudder
13-03-2007, 04:23 AM
good rebuttal of that stupid doc.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/03/swindled/

dHarry
13-03-2007, 09:44 AM
^ including a letter from Wunsch in the comments:


My appearance in the "Global Warming
Swindle" is deeply embarrasing, and my professional reputation
has been damaged. I was duped---an uncomfortable position in which to be.

At a minimum, I ask that the film should never be seen again publicly
with my participation included. Channel 4 surely owes an apology to
its viewers, and perhaps WAGTV owes something to Channel 4. I will be
taking advice as to whether I should proceed to make some more formal protest."

Woebot
29-03-2007, 11:16 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6506223.stm

Woebot
29-03-2007, 11:16 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6506223.stm

HMGovt
10-04-2007, 08:45 PM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6506223.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/3869753.stm

Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high
By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years. scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star's activity in the past. They say that over the last century the number of sunspots rose at the same time that the Earth's climate became steadily warmer. This trend is being amplified by gases from fossil fuel burning, they argue.

'Little Ice Age'

Sunspots have been monitored on the Sun since 1610, shortly after the invention of the telescope. They provide the longest-running direct measurement of our star's activity. The variation in sunspot numbers has revealed the Sun's 11-year cycle of activity as well as other, longer-term changes. In particular, it has been noted that between about 1645 and 1715, few sunspots were seen on the Sun's surface. This period is called the Maunder Minimum after the English astronomer who studied it. It coincided with a spell of prolonged cold weather often referred to as the "Little Ice Age". Solar scientists strongly suspect there is a link between the two events - but the exact mechanism remains elusive.

Over the past few thousand years there is evidence of earlier Maunder-like coolings in the Earth's climate - indicated by tree-ring measurements that show slow growth due to prolonged cold. In an attempt to determine what happened to sunspots during these other cold periods, Dr Sami Solanki and colleagues have looked at concentrations of a form, or isotope, of beryllium in ice cores from Greenland. The isotope is created by cosmic rays - high-energy particles from the depths of the galaxy. The flux of cosmic rays reaching the Earth's surface is modulated by the strength of the solar wind, the charged particles that stream away from the Sun's surface. And since the strength of the solar wind varies over the sunspot cycle, the amount of beryllium in the ice at a time in the past can therefore be used to infer the state of the Sun and, roughly, the number of sunspots.

Latest warming

Dr Solanki is presenting a paper on the reconstruction of past solar activity at Cool Stars, Stellar Systems And The Sun, a conference in Hamburg, Germany. He says that the reconstruction shows the Maunder Minimum and the other minima that are known in the past thousand years. But the most striking feature, he says, is that looking at the past 1,150 years the Sun has never been as active as it has been during the past 60 years. Over the past few hundred years, there has been a steady increase in the numbers of sunspots, a trend that has accelerated in the past century, just at the time when the Earth has been getting warmer. The data suggests that changing solar activity is influencing in some way the global climate causing the world to get warmer.

Over the past 20 years, however, the number of sunspots has remained roughly constant, yet the average temperature of the Earth has continued to increase. This is put down to a human-produced greenhouse effect caused by the combustion of fossil fuels. This latest analysis shows that the Sun has had a considerable indirect influence on the global climate in the past, causing the Earth to warm or chill, and that mankind is amplifying the Sun's latest attempt to warm the Earth.

HMGovt
23-04-2007, 10:09 PM
Unusually thick pack ice this year is trapping vessels off Newfoundland

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/19/AR2007041902426.html

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070418.wships0418/BNStory/National/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20070418.wships0418

Frank Pinhorn, executive director of the Canadian Sealers Association, said the amount of ice was unprecedented.

“Ice conditions are some of the most severe we've seen in 25 to 30 years,” Mr. Pinhorn said.

mos dan
24-04-2007, 12:33 AM
This documentary has been heavily criticized, a lot of the people involved in it have since come out against it.

Full story here:

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2347526.ece

my girlfriend's a geology grad student at a pretty damn reputable uni, and her tutors wouldn't even sanction the idea of their students watching it, not even on a 'know your enemy' kind of tip. pure contrarian bullshit.

i saw 'an inconvenient truth' finally last week. is this a good place to bring it up, or should it be in a separate thread..? *goes off to look*

hundredmillionlifetimes
19-05-2007, 07:34 PM
The shoggoths (http://www.dagonbytes.com/thelibrary/lovecraft/mountainsofmaddness.htm)are coming ...

The latest edition of Science reports on new research suggesting that the Antarctic Southern Ocean has been saturated with carbon dioxide at least since the 1980s: The Southern Ocean around Antarctica is so loaded with carbon dioxide that it can barely absorb any more, so more of the gas will stay in the atmosphere to warm up the planet, scientists reported Thursday. (http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=12793) Elsewhere, NASA confirms widespread melting in Western Antarctica: NASA scientists say they have found mass evidence of the effect of global warming in Western Antarctica where a massive amount of snow and ice had melted in January 2005 in response to warm temperatures. (http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=mryv54bab.0.z9xw54bab.iqnuv6bab.2265&ts=S0254&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.axcessnews.com%2Findex.php%2Far ticles%2Fshow%2Fid%2F10999)


... as the (Western) bourgeoise bio-fuel fetish backfires: bio-fuels are likely to "starve the poor" around the world, according to Runge and Senauer, as staples are converted to ethanol production for the privileged - cassava in sub-Saharan Africa, to take one ominous example. Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, tropical forests are cleared and burned for oil palms destined for bio fuel, and there are threatening environmental effects from input-rich production of corn-based ethanol in the United States as well. (http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=o88gaacab.0.qxhhaacab.iqnuv6bab.2265&ts=S0254&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.informationclearinghouse.info%2 Farticle17722.htm)

nomos
19-05-2007, 11:39 PM
... as the (Western) bourgeoise bio-fuel fetish backfires: bio-fuels are likely to "starve the poor" around the world, according to Runge and Senauer, as staples are converted to ethanol production for the privileged - cassava in sub-Saharan Africa, to take one ominous example. Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, tropical forests are cleared and burned for oil palms destined for bio fuel, and there are threatening environmental effects from input-rich production of corn-based ethanol in the United States as well. (http://rs6.net/tn.jsp?t=o88gaacab.0.qxhhaacab.iqnuv6bab.2265&ts=S0254&p=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.informationclearinghouse.info%2 Farticle17722.htm)
it's very alarming how little critical discourse there is around biofuels, such is the desire for a magic bullet that requires no sacrifice or change in habits. suddenly we have great numbers of "environmentalists" arguing in favour of industrial scale, biotechnologized monoculture which will, in fact, do us in just as readily as carbon, given that we'll need as much plant diversity as we can hold onto if we hope to adapt to globally-warmed mutant ecosystems.

hundredmillionlifetimes
20-05-2007, 12:56 AM
it's very alarming how little critical discourse there is around biofuels, such is the desire for a magic bullet that requires no sacrifice or change in habits. suddenly we have great numbers of "environmentalists" arguing in favour of industrial scale, biotechnologized monoculture which will, in fact, do us in just as readily as carbon, given that we'll need as much plant diversity as we can hold onto if we hope to adapt to globally-warmed mutant ecosystems.

Yeah, its a - green - variation on "we'll do anything rather than change the capitalist status quo " - even Greenpeace members are now seriously arguing in favour of nuclear power plants, as other "environmentalists" defend Clean Coal (http://earthmeanders.blogspot.com/2007/01/clean-coal-forest-biofuel-and-other.html)while China opens a new coal-fired power plant every week...

"Al Gore, self-appointed alpha Earth savior, and most of the environmental mainstream, are on record as talking about the future promise of clean coal and forest biofuel technologies; just another reminder of the extent to which the mainstream environmental movement has neither diagnosed the seriousness of the global biosphere's condition nor presented solutions adequate to sufficiently address ecocide in a timely manner without making things worse. Energy and climate solutions that increase pressures upon the biosphere are no help at all."

It seems, though, that Gore has - just last week, speaking in Argentina (http://www.breakingnews.ie/business/?jp=MHKFAUMHKFID&rss=rss2)- begun questioning his former assumptions: “Every potential solution much be handled carefully and the danger with biofuels is that extremely valuable forests will be destroyed unnecessarily ... Another danger is that, if it is not pursued carefully, it will drive food prices up.” The problem, of course, is that it's no longer a case of "will be" - its all already happening.


The history of global heating has largely been written by coal and forest loss, now wrongly hailed as climate change solutions (http://earthmeanders.blogspot.com/2007/01/clean-coal-forest-biofuel-and-other.html)

Two of the biggest, most dangerous lies being promoted in response to global warming are that clean coal exists and the world's forests are adequate to provide biofuel. Dirty coal and industrial forest harvest for energy only accelerates the root causes of looming Doomsday for the Earth - that is destruction of the biosphere's atmospheric and terrestrial ecosystems.

Coal burning and forest loss have been the leading culprit in climate change to date, and should their continued use at any scale be pursued as the solution to climate change and energy security, it will prove the death-knell for the Planet. We need less fossil fuel use and more forest regeneration, not the reverse.

The myth of "Clean Coal" is pernicious nonsense, as promised carbon sequestration technologies remain unproven, are not likely to be pursued at any scale anytime soon and are primarily used to put off limits on burning coal. Coal is cheap, plentiful and dirty. Carbon emissions from burning coal have been the leading cause of global warming. The world's coal reserves hold some 3500 gigatonne of carbon, compared to the atmosphere currently holding around 800 gigatonne (600 gigatonne before the industrial revolution). If this coal is burnt and carbon vented into the atmosphere the planet will be several times past the concentration of carbon dioxide considered able to be adapted to safely.

China is opening another coal plant every 7 to 10 days. The U.S. coal industry is rushing to build some 150 new plants before mandatory carbon caps, carbon taxes or carbon sequestration are put in place. Each of these new dirty coal plants uses the oldest of technologies, locking the world's two greatest polluters into dirty coal for at least 50 more years. I know of no plans to make carbon sequestration mandatory any time soon for new coal plants. It will be at least 10 years before we know if geosequestration even works. Carbon capture and storage is expensive, increasing the costs of power generation by 40 to 80%. Despite all the promises of coal gasification and carbon sequestration, it may never be possible to produce energy from coal without atmospheric carbon emissions.

Could it be that carbon sequestration like the hydrogen automobile is a red-herring to allow the fossil fuel industries to squeeze every last drop of profit from the Planet before being forced to stop? In the world of nine billion consumers to come, with the condition of the atmosphere in such tatters, the majority of the world's filthy coal reserves must be left in the ground as we transition exclusively to clean renewable energy alternatives.

Many herald the promise of converting woody biomass - primarily forest "waste" such as sawdust, forest thinning, and agriculture residues such as straw - into cellulosic ethanol as a source of biofuel. Cellulosic ethanol technology uses enzymes to break down the woody bits of plant cellulose. The fact that woody materials may provide for more energy than corn or soy based ethanol does not in itself justify large-scale establishment of such an industry. Just as hasty efforts to promote corn ethanol have lead to sharp price increases for corn worldwide, production of biofuel from forest and agricultural "waste" will have grave unintended consequences.

The world's forests have been hammered for millennia; and are barely able to continue providing ecosystem services of cycling of nutrients, energy and water while providing for traditional wood products. Removal of forest biomass and agricultural residues from natural ecosystems and human agro-ecosystems at the industrial scale envisioned will be yet one more massive drain upon the Earth's net primary productivity. The woody forest "waste" materials to be used; including forest slash, thinning, bark and sawdust are the nutrient materials that new forests depend upon.

Surely woody biomass requirements will be met by vast plantations of genetically modified fiber bearing plants and/or by encroaching into regenerating forests and land used to grow food. A large biofuel industry based upon ethanol from cellulose will lead to greater deforestation, forest diminishment and degradation of agricultural lands. Ancient forests will replaced to grow genetically modified crops in plantations, regenerating secondary forests will be logged into further decline, and land use will shift from food to fiber even as soils become more degraded. One must only look at oil palm in Asia, sugar cane and soya in Brazil and corn in the U.S. to see this is true. To presume that the massive energy needs of the world can be met by already overworked and still diminishing forest and agricultural ecosystems is true folly.

tryptych
20-05-2007, 03:52 AM
Actually, some recent research has shown plants themselves (along with animals) produce a lot of "greenhouse" emissions - so simply re-foresting may not make things any better...

I will dig up the ref.

Interestingly enough, this was in the science news again last week. The original study a year or so ago showed that a staggering 30% of world methane emmissions seemed to be coming from plants themselves, prompting re-thinks about the strategy of planting more trees.

However, new results have just been published which seem to show that this methane gas was in fact somehow trapped within the plant matter, not being produced by the plants themselves and thus being no net generation of methane.

New Scientist editorial here - subsc only, and my subscription has lapsed otherwise I would post it in full:

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/opinion/mg19426022.500-methane-research-standoff-do-plants-produce-gas.html

(Those of you reading the "Critiques of Science" (http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=5607) thread may enjoy the rather self-congratulatory anti-inductionist strapline - "As two teams produce different results, it's a reminder that a single study does not provide scientific proof")

And first report back in 2006 from Science News (free):

http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060114/fob1.asp

Mr. Tea
20-05-2007, 09:13 AM
even Greenpeace members are now seriously arguing in favour of nuclear power plants
Is this the case? I thought just last year they staged a rather stroppy 'demonstration' at (i.e. completely disrupted) a big debate on nuclear energy, with the express intention of stopping even dialogue about it, let alone allowing more power stations to be built.

hundredmillionlifetimes
20-05-2007, 07:36 PM
Is this the case? I thought just last year they staged a rather stroppy 'demonstration' at (i.e. completely disrupted) a big debate on nuclear energy, with the express intention of stopping even dialogue about it, let alone allowing more power stations to be built.

Greenpeace, like Friends of the Earth and other lobby groups, is of course anti-nuclear. I should perhaps have been clearer by stating that "many former members" now favour nuclear energy.

"When I helped found Greenpeace in the 1970s, my colleagues and I were firmly opposed to nuclear energy. But times have changed. I now realize nuclear energy is the only non-greenhouse gas-emitting power source that can effectively replace fossil fuels and satisfy growing demand for energy (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/3900086.html)."

===>Patrick Moore. An advisor to government and industry, Dr. Patrick Moore is a co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace, and chair and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. in Vancouver, Canada. He and former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman are co-chairs of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, which supports increased use of nuclear energy.

Mr. Tea
20-05-2007, 11:25 PM
Patrick Moore is an amusing right-wing mentalist. However that doesn't stop him being right, IMO, about nuclear energy. I think it's our only hope for a worthwhile non-greenhouse-gas-emitting energy source in the near future.

vimothy
21-05-2007, 01:38 PM
it's very alarming how little critical discourse there is around biofuels, such is the desire for a magic bullet that requires no sacrifice or change in habits. suddenly we have great numbers of "environmentalists" arguing in favour of industrial scale, biotechnologized monoculture which will, in fact, do us in just as readily as carbon, given that we'll need as much plant diversity as we can hold onto if we hope to adapt to globally-warmed mutant ecosystems.

Our kid told me that there isn't even enough land on the planet to grow the crops necessary to make bio-fuels a global, sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.

hundredmillionlifetimes
22-06-2007, 12:44 AM
As SF-Capital futurists imagine the moon's estimated - but prohibitively irrecoverable - reserves of Helium-3 as the vital-ingredient, the fusion-powered nuclear saviour of the world's future energy needs, climatologists again enter the frey [as Catastrophy Theory supplants Chaos Theory] ...

Dr Hansen said we have about 10 years to put into effect the draconian measures needed to curb CO2 emissions quickly enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperature. Otherwise, the extra heat could trigger the rapid melting of polar ice sheets, made far worse by the "albedo flip" - when the sunlight reflected by white ice is suddenly absorbed as ice melts to become the dark surface of open water.

The glaciers and ice sheets of Greenland in the northern hemisphere, and the western Antarctic ice sheet in the south, both show signs of the rapid changes predicted with rising temperatures. "

The albedo flip property of ice/water provides a trigger mechanism. If the trigger mechanism is engaged long enough, multiple dynamical feedbacks will cause ice sheet collapse," the scientists say. "We argue that the required persistence for this trigger mechanism is at most a century, probably less."


The Earth today stands in imminent peril (http://environment.independent.co.uk/climate_change/article2675747.ece)

...and nothing short of a planetary rescue will save it from the environmental cataclysm of dangerous climate change. Those are not the words of eco-warriors but the considered opinion of a group of eminent scientists writing in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

By Steve Connor, Science Editor

Published: 19 June 2007

Six scientists from some of the leading scientific institutions in the United States have issued what amounts to an unambiguous warning to the world: civilisation itself is threatened by global warming.

They also implicitly criticise the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for underestimating the scale of sea-level rises this century as a result of melting glaciers and polar ice sheets.

Instead of sea levels rising by about 40 centimetres, as the IPCC predicts in one of its computer forecasts, the true rise might be as great as several metres by 2100. That is why, they say, planet Earth today is in "imminent peril".

In a densely referenced scientific paper published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, some of the world's leading climate researchers describe in detail why they believe that humanity can no longer afford to ignore the "gravest threat" of climate change.

"Recent greenhouse gas emissions place the Earth perilously close to dramatic climate change that could run out of control, with great dangers for humans and other creatures," the scientists say. Only intense efforts to curb man-made emissions of carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases can keep the climate within or near the range of the past one million years, they add.

The researchers were led by James Hansen, the director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who was the first scientist to warn the US Congress about global warming.

The other scientists were Makiko Sato, Pushker Kharecha and Gary Russell, also of the Goddard Institute, David Lea of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Mark Siddall of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York.

In their 29-page paper, "Climate Change and trace gases", the scientists frequently stray from the non-emotional language of science to emphasise the scale of the problems and dangers posed by climate change.

In an email to The Independent, Dr Hansen said: "In my opinion, among our papers this one probably does the best job of making clear that the Earth is getting perilously close to climate changes that could run out of our control."

The unnatural "forcing" of the climate as a result of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases threatens to generate a "flip" in the climate that could "spark a cataclysm" in the massive ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, the scientists write.

Dramatic flips in the climate have occurred in the past but none has happened since the development of complex human societies and civilisation, which are unlikely to survive the same sort of environmental changes if they occurred now.

"Civilisation developed, and constructed extensive infrastructure, during a period of unusual climate stability, the Holocene, now almost 12,000 years in duration. That period is about to end," the scientists warn. Humanity cannot afford to burn the Earth's remaining underground reserves of fossil fuel. "To do so would guarantee dramatic climate change, yielding a different planet from the one on which civilisation developed and for which extensive physical infrastructure has been built," they say.

Dr Hansen said we have about 10 years to put into effect the draconian measures needed to curb CO2 emissions quickly enough to avert a dangerous rise in global temperature. Otherwise, the extra heat could trigger the rapid melting of polar ice sheets, made far worse by the "albedo flip" - when the sunlight reflected by white ice is suddenly absorbed as ice melts to become the dark surface of open water.

The glaciers and ice sheets of Greenland in the northern hemisphere, and the western Antarctic ice sheet in the south, both show signs of the rapid changes predicted with rising temperatures. "

The albedo flip property of ice/water provides a trigger mechanism. If the trigger mechanism is engaged long enough, multiple dynamical feedbacks will cause ice sheet collapse," the scientists say. "We argue that the required persistence for this trigger mechanism is at most a century, probably less."

The latest assessment of the IPCC published earlier this year predicts little or no contribution to 21st century sea level from Greenland or Antarctica, but the six scientists dispute this interpretation. "The IPCC analyses and projections do not well account for the nonlinear physics of wet ice sheet disintegration, ice streams and eroding ice shelves, nor are they consistent with the palaeoclimate evidence we have presented for the absence of discernible lag between ice sheet forcing and sea-level rise," the scientists say.

Their study looked back over more than 400,000 years of climate records from deep ice cores and found evidence to suggest that rapid climate change over a period of centuries, or even decades, have in the past occurred once the world began to heat up and ice sheets started melting. It is not possible to assess the dangerous level of man-made greenhouse gases.

"However, it is much lower than has commonly been assumed. If we have not already passed the dangerous level, the energy infrastructure in place ensures that we will pass it within several decades," the scientists say in their findings.

"We conclude that a feasible strategy for planetary rescue almost surely requires a means of extracting [greenhouse gases] from the air."

Further evidence emerges from Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Center in Colorado, who claims that the absence of ice on the Arctic Ocean during summer months would be a major contributor to global warming. Published in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, Scambos and his co-authors drew on satellite data and visual evidence of Arctic ice to reach their conclusions, radically at variance to those that obtained from computer models used by the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: The Arctic ice cap is melting much faster than expected and is now about 30 years ahead of predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.S. ice expert said Tuesday. This means the ocean at the top of the world could be free or nearly free of summer ice by 2020, three decades sooner than the global panel's gloomiest forecast of 2050. (http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2007/05/01/arctic_ice_cap_melting_30_years_ahead_of_forecast/)

The world's refugees: " I feel humiliated": Christian Aid predicts (http://tinyurl.com/3dp5ee)that by 2050 there will be 1 billion people around the world displaced by global warming, dwarfing the number of those now fleeing conflicts and persecution -- nearly 10 million refugees and almost 25 million internally displaced people.

elgato
11-07-2007, 03:26 PM
This documentary has been heavily criticized, a lot of the people involved in it have since come out against it.

Full story here:

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2347526.ece

another nail in the coffin (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,,2123447,00.html)

dHarry
12-07-2007, 10:00 AM
another nail in the coffin (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/story/0,,2123447,00.html)
This is pretty unambiguous:

"Even though there is almost no argument among scientific circles about the role of human activities as the main driver of climate change, a recent poll suggested that the public still believes there is significant scientific uncertainty. Despite the efforts of government and campaigns such as Live Earth to educate the public, the Ipsos Mori poll of over 2,031 people, released this month, found 56% of people thought there was an active scientific debate into the causes of global warming.

A spokesman for the Royal Society, the UK's leading scientific academy, said: "This is an important contribution to the scientific debate on climate change. At present there is a small minority which is seeking to deliberately confuse the public on the causes of climate change. They are often misrepresenting the science, when the reality is that the evidence is getting stronger every day. We have reached a point where a failure to take action to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions would be irresponsible and dangerous."

Channel 4 and Martin Durkin, producer of The Great Global Warming Swindle, declined to comment."

hundredmillionlifetimes
16-09-2007, 02:41 AM
This is pretty unambiguous:

"Even though there is almost no argument among scientific circles about the role of human activities as the main driver of climate change, a recent poll suggested that the public still believes there is significant scientific uncertainty. Despite the efforts of government and campaigns such as Live Earth to educate the public, the Ipsos Mori poll of over 2,031 people, released this month, found 56% of people thought there was an active scientific debate into the causes of global warming.

A spokesman for the Royal Society, the UK's leading scientific academy, said: "This is an important contribution to the scientific debate on climate change. At present there is a small minority which is seeking to deliberately confuse the public on the causes of climate change. They are often misrepresenting the science, when the reality is that the evidence is getting stronger every day. We have reached a point where a failure to take action to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions would be irresponsible and dangerous."

Channel 4 and Martin Durkin, producer of The Great Global Warming Swindle, declined to comment."

Yes, it may seem unambiguous, except that The Problem, however, is that there INDEED continues to be an active scientific debate on the subject, and the public indeed quickly learns to disavow what knowledge they may have ostensibly acquired on the subject (and not just on climate change: whatever became of the 10m people who took to the streets in February 2003 opposing the invasion of Iraq? Where are they now? Gone back to sleep? Whatever became of the tens of millions who opposed mass poverty in Africa in the 1980s? Where are they now? Too busy shopping and checking their mortgage repayments?).

Here are two recent contrary reports, which serve to further suggest that much of the West's fatuous 'concern' about climate change will evaporate as quickly as their bubble property prices (and I hear even George Monbiot has just bought himself a gas-guzzling car ...):



Challenge to Scientific Consensus on Global Warming (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6764)

Analysis Finds Hundreds of Scientists Have Published Evidence Countering Man-Made Global Warming Fears

by Hudson Institute

Global Research, September 13, 2007

Earth Times

Global Research Editor's Note

The following report emanates from the Hudson Insitute, which is supported by big business including the oil companies.

The suppression of this research on Global Warming, however, is nonetheless corroborated. And consequently we felt that it was important to bring this article to the attention of our readers. For further details, see our dossier on Climate Change

Moreover, there is evidence that big business is also supporting the Global Warming Consensus, which serves broad geopolitical interests.

13 September 2007

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

A new analysis of peer-reviewed literature reveals that more than 500 scientists have published evidence refuting at least one element of current man-made global warming scares. More than 300 of the scientists found evidence that 1) a natural moderate 1,500-year climate cycle has produced more than a dozen global warmings similar to ours since the last Ice Age and/or that 2) our Modern Warming is linked strongly to variations in the sun's irradiance. "This data and the list of scientists make a mockery of recent claims that a scientific consensus blames humans as the primary cause of global temperature increases since 1850," said Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Dennis Avery.

Other researchers found evidence that 3) sea levels are failing to rise importantly; 4) that our storms and droughts are becoming fewer and milder with this warming as they did during previous global warmings; 5) that human deaths will be reduced with warming because cold kills twice as many people as heat; and 6) that corals, trees, birds, mammals, and butterflies are adapting well to the routine reality of changing climate.

Despite being published in such journals such as Science, Nature and Geophysical Review Letters, these scientists have gotten little media attention. "Not all of these researchers would describe themselves as global warming skeptics," said Avery, "but the evidence in their studies is there for all to see."

More ... (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6764)


And all this quite apart from the fact that all attempts to counter global warming to date have only served to accentuate it ... Oh look! There goes Al Gore in his new JetStream ...



New Peer-Reviewed Scientific Studies Chill Global Warming Fears (http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?d87f58c3-be16-4959-88e2-906b7c291fd6)
By Marc Morano, 8/29/2007 12:12:56 PM

Washington DC – An abundance of new peer-reviewed studies, analysis, and data error discoveries in the last several months has prompted scientists to declare that fear of catastrophic man-made global warming “bites the dust” and the scientific underpinnings for alarm may be “falling apart.” The latest study to cast doubt on climate fears finds that even a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide would not have the previously predicted dire impacts on global temperatures. This new study is not unique, as a host of recent peer-reviewed studies have cast a chill on global warming fears.

“Anthropogenic (man-made) global warming bites the dust,” declared astronomer Dr. Ian Wilson after reviewing the new study which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research. Another scientist said the peer-reviewed study overturned “in one fell swoop” the climate fears promoted by the UN and former Vice President Al Gore. The study entitled “Heat Capacity, Time Constant, and Sensitivity of Earth’s Climate System,” was authored by Brookhaven National Lab scientist Stephen Schwartz.

“Effectively, this (new study) means that the global economy will spend trillions of dollars trying to avoid a warming of ~ 1.0 K by 2100 A.D.” Dr. Wilson wrote in a note to the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee on Aug. 19, 2007. Wilson, a former operations astronomer at the Hubble Space Telescope Institute in Baltimore MD, was referring to the trillions of dollars that would be spent under such international global warming treaties like the Kyoto Protocol.

“Previously, I have indicated that the widely accepted values for temperature increase associated with a doubling of CO2 were far too high i.e. 2 – 4.5 Kelvin. This new peer-reviewed paper claims a value of 1.1 +/- 0.5 K increase for a doubling of CO2,” he added.

Climate fears reduced to children’s games

Other scientists are echoing Wilson’s analysis. Former Harvard physicist Dr. Lubos Motl said the new study has reduced proponents of man-made climate fears to “playing the children’s game to scare each other.”

More ... (http://www.hawaiireporter.com/story.aspx?d87f58c3-be16-4959-88e2-906b7c291fd6)

Mr. Tea
17-09-2007, 01:33 PM
And all this quite apart from the fact that all attempts to counter global warming to date have only served to accentuate it ... Oh look! There goes Al Gore in his new JetStream ...

This is such a lame form of criticism: "If anyone trying to raise awareness of environmental issues creates even the tiniest bit of pollution in the process, they are a fraud and a hypocrite and shouldn't be listened to".
Suppose Gore persuaded just a hundred Americans to take domestic as opposed to foreign holidays last year; this would have 'paid for' his carbon emmissions many times over, wouldn't it? Or perhaps he'd have been more successful standing on a street corner handing out leaflets printed on recylced paper, I don't know.

mixed_biscuits
17-09-2007, 02:23 PM
I'm happy to be 100% behind 100million's cynical take on things on this occasion. :cool:

vimothy
17-09-2007, 02:47 PM
Me too actually: millions of ordinary people go without so Al Gore can toss it off on every continent. What a twat.

Mr. Tea
17-09-2007, 02:48 PM
Perhaps we should take a leaf out of Gek's book and push a crypto-environmentalist agenda by chopping down all the remaining rain forests, burning big piles of coal for no reason, dumping nuclear waste at sea in leaky, rusting barrels and publicly feeding pandas to starving rotweilers?

Actually, I think we should do the panda thing anyway.

mixed_biscuits
17-09-2007, 02:59 PM
Perhaps we should take a leaf out of Gek's book and push a crypto-environmentalist agenda by chopping down all the remaining rain forests.

I've always thought that the best way to teach primary school children the importance of looking after their surroundings is to trash the classroom and chop down the school orchard. Really brings it home.

Mr. Tea
17-09-2007, 03:07 PM
Me too actually: millions of ordinary people go without so Al Gore can toss it off on every continent. What a twat.

Go without what? What is he depriving people of, exactly?

Edit: if what you're getting at is that they've gone without perfectly unnecessary, resource-intensive luxuries then I'd call that a good thing. Is that what you mean?

vimothy
17-09-2007, 03:34 PM
Go without what? What is he depriving people of, exactly?

Edit: if what you're getting at is that they've gone without perfectly unnecessary, resource-intensive luxuries then I'd call that a good thing. Is that what you mean?

Well, I thought you meant going without holidays abroad, but obviously it seems as though you've got a wider agenda. What are "perfectly unnecessary resource-intensive luxuries", who decided what they are and don't you think it's a teeny bit hypocritical to expect others to forego the pleasures you enjoy?

Mr. Tea
17-09-2007, 03:48 PM
Well, I thought you meant going without holidays abroad, but obviously it seems as though you've got a wider agenda. What are "perfectly unnecessary resource-intensive luxuries", who decided what they are and don't you think it's a teeny bit hypocritical to expect others to forego the pleasures you enjoy?

I think foreign holidays might be a good example of P.U.R.-I.L.s. And I haven't had one in yonks.

My point is that it's ridiculous to have a go at people who are actually trying to do something positive about climate change by criticizing them for travelling by plane, for example, when it would be impossible or prohibitively impractical to travel otherwise. OK, so Al Gore could go and live in the woods in a little hut and live on berries and insects, and he'd certainly be doing his bit for the environment (and producing less CO2 than he is by flying around to promote his film), but it wouldn't really have much impact on anyone else, would it? And yes, Gore is a self-publicist, wannabe-saviour, blah blah blah, but at least he is actually doing something. Unless every person who saw his film just drove home in their gas-guzzling car afterwards and completely forgot about it, which could be the case for all I know.

IdleRich
17-09-2007, 03:51 PM
Not sure I get this bit:


"Here are two recent contrary reports, which serve to further suggest that much of the West's fatuous 'concern' about climate change will evaporate as quickly as their bubble property prices"
Some articles that purport to show that there is some debate on climate change do not mean that concern about it is fatuous do they? Or are you saying that the way in which people worry is fatuous? Quite possibly true of some of them I guess but surely not all.


"And all this quite apart from the fact that all attempts to counter global warming to date have only served to accentuate it ... Oh look! There goes Al Gore in his new JetStream..."
Surely he was trying to accentuate it? The whole purpose of making a film and giving speeches is to identify and raise awareness of global warming.


"don't you think it's a teeny bit hypocritical to expect others to forego the pleasures you enjoy?"
nb Forego to go before, Forgo to go without.

vimothy
17-09-2007, 03:57 PM
nb Forego to go before, Forgo to go without.

Note well yourself: You know what I mean, pedant!

Mr. Tea
17-09-2007, 04:01 PM
nb Forego to go before, Forgo to go without.

http://img511.imageshack.us/img511/3672/stephenfry2ch1.jpg

vimothy
17-09-2007, 04:21 PM
I think foreign holidays might be a good example of P.U.R.-I.L.s. And I haven't had one in yonks.

Congrats - how big is your carbon footprint?


My point is that it's ridiculous to have a go at people who are actually trying to do something positive about climate change by criticizing them for travelling by plane, for example, when it would be impossible or prohibitively impractical to travel otherwise.

Well, that's very interesting, I think. Mr Gore (like you) can recognise the benefits of (among other carbon emission heavy activities) air travel, so he shouldn't be suprised that others do the same.


OK, so Al Gore could go and live in the woods in a little hut and live on berries and insects, and he'd certainly be doing his bit for the environment (and producing less CO2 than he is , but it wouldn't really have much impact on anyone else, would it? And yes, Gore is a self-publicist, wannabe-saviour, blah blah blah, but at least he is actually doing something. Unless every person who saw his film just drove home in their gas-guzzling car afterwards and completely forgot about it, which could be the case for all I know.

I would like to know:

How much impact is Gore actually having? Can it be measured?

And, disregarding his extensive use of cheap flights, which you think is off-set by the good his message does, how "green" is Mr Gore in the rest of his life?

Probably you think these are marginal issues, particularly my second point, but it seems to me that Gore is just jumping on a band-wagon ideology (with an accompanying subset of prescribed behaviours) he neither believes nor properly observes in his own life. Fine, if you're already convinced by the message he's sellling. Personally, I think it highlights some notable absurdities.

Mr. Tea
17-09-2007, 04:54 PM
I would like to know:

How much impact is Gore actually having? Can it be measured?
I couldn't say for sure. Except to say that it's obviously negligible compared to the entire output of the USA, or even the 'excess' amount produced by things people could easily cut down on, e.g. owning low-mileage vehicles or jetting around on holiday.


And, disregarding his extensive use of cheap flights, which you think is off-set by the good his message does, how "green" is Mr Gore in the rest of his life?
Oh, I don't know. Probably not very. Obviously it's not going to help people take him seriously if they think he's a hypocrite - c.f. 'green' Arnie and his fleet of hummers.


Probably you think these are marginal issues, particularly my second point, but it seems to me that Gore is just jumping on a band-wagon ideology (with an accompanying subset of prescribed behaviours) he neither believes nor properly observes in his own life. Fine, if you're already convinced by the message he's sellling. Personally, I think it highlights some notable absurdities.
I think he is jumping on the bandwagon, but for whatever reasons he personally has for pushing the environmental agenda (and I'm sure many of them are as selfish as the reasons any politician has for doing anything) that doesn't mean it's not an extremely crucial agenda.

Gavin
17-09-2007, 06:03 PM
The Gore thing is egregious because his own fucking film tells people all these ways they can save the earth through more thoughtful consumer choices. It's stupid, yes, since buying a hybrid has nothing on all factories in China -- it's basically the consumerist incorporation of radical environmental ideology. But GORE HIMSELF advocates it and doesn't follow through.

Also, the "debate" is one totally manufactured, which is HMLT's point (I think). It's a disinformation campaign to call into question what everyone already knew: that carbon emissions are having massive adverse effects on the environment. Look at how ludicrous some of the apologist claims are: that a warmer earth will allow us to grow more crops (and probably better tans) for instance! Sucks for Bangladesh though! What this allows is a disavowal -- we don't need to do anything, they haven't even figured out if it IS a problem yet, let's let the experts hash it out while we focus on important things like whether I'm getting enough Omega-3 or whatever.

gek-opel
17-09-2007, 06:12 PM
The Gore thing is egregious because his own fucking film tells people all these ways they can save the earth through more thoughtful consumer choices. It's stupid, yes, since buying a hybrid has nothing on all factories in China -- it's basically the consumerist incorporation of radical environmental ideology. But GORE HIMSELF advocates it and doesn't follow through.


Its dangerous because it gives an easy option, a get out clause which people (and governments) will easily subscribe to- that there is no need to fundamentally alter our lives, our ways of practically living, or systems of political economy. In reality Gore's soft-consumerist/individualistic approach is totally poisonous and deadly to the cause-- creating the illusion that something is being done ("hey I bought a hybrid car, run it on bio-fuel, eat organic-- problem solved muthafucker...") when in reality nothing short of massive socio-economic change and/or technological revolution will suffice.

Gavin
17-09-2007, 06:22 PM
Its dangerous because it gives an easy option, a get out clause which people (and governments) will easily subscribe to- that there is no need to fundamentally alter our lives, our ways of practically living, or systems of political economy. In reality Gore's soft-consumerist/individualistic approach is totally poisonous and deadly to the cause-- creating the illusion that something is being done ("hey I bought a hybrid car, run it on bio-fuel, eat organic-- problem solved muthafucker...") when in reality nothing short of massive socio-economic change and/or technological revolution will suffice.

So we should probably celebrate his hypocrisy as proof of how empty his "solution" is...

gek-opel
17-09-2007, 06:28 PM
Yes, perhaps. However it leaves open two problems - firstly that if he weren't a hypocrite, perhaps his solution might be appropriate. And secondly that if even he is a hypocrite with this weak solution, then we all are, and therefore we might as well not worry and just consumer ourselves into the ground.

Mr. Tea
17-09-2007, 06:32 PM
But the thing is, private vehicle emmissions must make up a huge proportion of America's CO2 and other atmospheric pollutant output - possibly more so than any other country - so if *everyone* bought a lower-emmission vehicle, stopped making unnecessary journeys, actually started walking or biking for short journeys, used public transport etc., the difference would be massive. Of course, if just a few people here and there do it, it's not going to make any difference at all.

Gavin
17-09-2007, 06:35 PM
Yes, perhaps. However it leaves open two problems - firstly that if he weren't a hypocrite, perhaps his solution might be appropriate. And secondly that if even he is a hypocrite with this weak solution, then we all are, and therefore we might as well not worry and just consumer ourselves into the ground.

Actually I think most of his audience doesn't really care... All those rich coastal liberals that give him money just need some sort of cause in their life so they can tell themselves they aren't completely amoral credit-cards-with-genitals, but without actually disturbing their wasteful meaningless lives. They will never be anything but the problem, no matter what nonpharmaceutical means they use to get to sleep at night.

Gavin
17-09-2007, 06:38 PM
But the thing is, private vehicle emmissions must make up a huge proportion of America's CO2 and other atmospheric pollutant output - possibly more so than any other country - so if *everyone* bought a lower-emmission vehicle, stopped making unnecessary journeys, actually started walking or biking for short journeys, used public transport etc., the difference would be massive. Of course, if just a few people here and there do it, it's not going to make any difference at all.

If everyone in America bought a new car, I think the environment would be poorer for it.

Mr. Tea
17-09-2007, 06:45 PM
If everyone in America bought a new car, I think the environment would be poorer for it.

People in America (and elsewhere) buy new cars all the time. I'm not advocating they all go out and buy a new car now, but the cars on the road are continually being replaced, so people have the choice to replace them with Humvees or more economical models, don't they?

Gavin
17-09-2007, 06:59 PM
People in America (and elsewhere) buy new cars all the time. I'm not advocating they all go out and buy a new car now, but the cars on the road are continually being replaced, so people have the choice to replace them with Humvees or more economical models, don't they?

Actually most people in this country are heavily in debt and living paycheck to paycheck, so I don't think they have the choice. Regardless, this is essentially an argument over drop-in-the-barrel tactics. A Prius gets what, 40-50 miles per gallon? And emits 60-70% the CO2 (if they are to be believed)? Sure, it would be less, but still change nothing.

This is basically the exact same thing as people who get off on rape stories using grief/empathy as a "fig leaf" (great term Gek). Here the neurotic need for new products gets the fig leaf of environmental protection (or "awareness," such an execrable term), which doesn't negate the fact that the entire system of overproduction/overconsumption is what's going to cause environmental collapse and buying new cars just keeps this system in place.

Gavin
17-09-2007, 06:59 PM
And most people who get a "new" car get a used/secondhand one. My parents have never bought an actually new car in their lives.

gek-opel
17-09-2007, 08:02 PM
Actually most people in this country are heavily in debt and living paycheck to paycheck, so I don't think they have the choice. Regardless, this is essentially an argument over drop-in-the-barrel tactics. A Prius gets what, 40-50 miles per gallon? And emits 60-70% the CO2 (if they are to be believed)? Sure, it would be less, but still change nothing.

This is basically the exact same thing as people who get off on rape stories using grief/empathy as a "fig leaf" (great term Gek). Here the neurotic need for new products gets the fig leaf of environmental protection (or "awareness," such an execrable term), which doesn't negate the fact that the entire system of overproduction/overconsumption is what's going to cause environmental collapse and buying new cars just keeps this system in place.

Yes yes yes-- its the same shit of rampant consumerism which created a lot of this problem in the first place. One of the most ingenious things about capitalism is that it creates a problem (say environmental collapse or obesity due to sedentary lifestyles and processed diets) and then sells you the solution too!

And Mr Tea-- the point is that individualistic consumer choice alone won't solve the problem I think: even if everyone buying a Prius or whatever would reduce the USA's emissions significantly most people will not buy one, for a variety of reasons, if given the free choice. Hence the limits of the solution.

vimothy
18-09-2007, 09:10 AM
People in America (and elsewhere) buy new cars all the time. I'm not advocating they all go out and buy a new car now, but the cars on the road are continually being replaced, so people have the choice to replace them with Humvees or more economical models, don't they?

Did you hear about this (http://news.carjunky.com/alternative_fuel_vehicles/which-is-greener-prius-hummer-cde790.shtml)?

tate
18-09-2007, 09:32 AM
Did you hear about this (http://news.carjunky.com/alternative_fuel_vehicles/which-is-greener-prius-hummer-cde790.shtml)?
Yeah, and so what? Do you believe, endorse, or agree with, Spinella's findings? And if so, on what basis?

vimothy
18-09-2007, 10:01 AM
Yeah, and so what? Do you believe, endorse, or agree with, Spinella's findings? And if so, on what basis?

Er, what? I can see that a view that takes on board the entire life-cycle energy cost of a vehicle might throw up some interesting conclusions. I have no prior commitment to either car, and certainly can accept in principle the idea that a hummer could be more fuel efficient over the course of its life. Why not? It doesn't need to be political, though, obviously, it probably will be. In any case (ignoring the fact that study wasn't peer reviewed and all of the other criticisms of it, like unsupported lifetime mileage assumptions and so on), it makes me think that making a "green" car is not going to be as simple as making a car and saying, "look, it's green." Everything is complicated.

But let me ask you the question you're angling for: Do you not believe, endorse or agree with Spinella's findings? And if not, on what basis?

vimothy
18-09-2007, 10:02 AM
It's funny how people seem more attached to the idea that their own particualr peculiarity is the one that's going to make all the difference, than they are to actually making a difference, such that if it comes own to a choice, most people would rather be right. (Not that I'm thinking of fair trade here, no sir).

Mr. Tea
18-09-2007, 12:20 PM
And Mr Tea-- the point is that individualistic consumer choice alone won't solve the problem I think: even if everyone buying a Prius or whatever would reduce the USA's emissions significantly most people will not buy one, for a variety of reasons, if given the free choice. Hence the limits of the solution.

Well then how about not buying a car at all? How's that for a 'consumer choice'? Of course it's not going to be practical for many people, but it could be for some - especially if there was a bit more federal spending on public transport - of course I'm talking totally hypothetically here, since it would involve big changes in culture at every level from central government down to individual consumers. Aren't these the 'radical changes in lifestyle' you mentioned as the only thing that can do any good a few posts ago?

gek-opel
18-09-2007, 08:08 PM
Er, what? I can see that a view that takes on board the entire life-cycle energy cost of a vehicle might throw up some interesting conclusions. I have no prior commitment to either car, and certainly can accept in principle the idea that a hummer could be more fuel efficient over the course of its life. Why not? It doesn't need to be political, though, obviously, it probably will be. In any case (ignoring the fact that study wasn't peer reviewed and all of the other criticisms of it, like unsupported lifetime mileage assumptions and so on), it makes me think that making a "green" car is not going to be as simple as making a car and saying, "look, it's green." Everything is complicated.

But let me ask you the question you're angling for: Do you not believe, endorse or agree with Spinella's findings? And if not, on what basis?

I think it demonstrates pretty thoroughly the fact that green consumerism is primarily consumerism rather than green behaviour, and that total energy consumption/carbon output may be counter-intuitive (see also food miles, where actually sometimes a product with high food miles may be better than a lower one as it requires significantly less inputs to grow in a warmer climate in the third world).

Gavin
18-09-2007, 10:52 PM
Also they are going to have to make some "green" semi-trucks because that's how 95% of American goods get to the stores -- on pure diesel.

Mr. Tea
08-10-2007, 10:16 PM
Holy shit! Northwest Passage opens up:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6995999.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7033498.stm

IdleRich
09-10-2007, 12:25 PM
"Holy shit! Northwest Passage opens up:"
For the first time since records began way back in 1978!

Mr. Tea
09-10-2007, 01:13 PM
For the first time since records began way back in 1978!

Explorers have been searching for the Northwest Passage for centuries, it was basically a myth until this year.
And given the rate of warming, if this is the first time it's been open since at least 1978, it's probably the first time it's been open in human history.

IdleRich
09-10-2007, 01:23 PM
Yeah yeah, I'm just saying that their presentation isn't very good. At the start of the piece they make all these "since records began" claims, then at the bottom they slip in that that was in 1978. Just undermines a worthwhile point I thought.

Mr. Tea
09-10-2007, 01:25 PM
Ah right, I hadn't seen that bit. But that must just refer to 'official' records, since it's well known that people searched for but failed to find the NWP for hudreds of years.

hundredmillionlifetimes
01-11-2007, 12:37 PM
Monbiot on climate change again: Civilization Ends with a Shutdown of Human Concern. Are We There Already? (http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/10/30/4902/), via a look at both the UN's latest report and Cormac McCarthy's ravaged-earth, dystopian vision of the future in his novel, The Road.

Two of the problems he raises are worth a comment. Firstly, the media's increasing depoliticization of climate-change via gliberal 'commonsensical' capitalist realism, much as it does with, for instance, the banning of famine relief ads that mention a possible political origin to the problem ie famine has to be presented as a 'natural catastrophy' which the generous and sacred West will attempt to alleviate, the indigenous victims being forever grateful for such profound beneficence.


Extract

The BBC drops Planet Relief for fear of breaching its impartiality guidelines: heaven forbid that it should come out against mass death. But it broadcasts a program - Top Gear - that puts a match to its guidelines every week, and now looks about as pertinent as the Black and White Minstrel Show.

The schedules are crammed with shows urging us to travel further, drive faster, build bigger, buy more, yet none of them are deemed to offend the rules, which really means that they don’t offend the interests of business or the pampered sensibilities of the Aga class. The media, driven by fear and advertising, are hopelessly biased towards the consumer economy and against the biosphere.

It seems to me that we are already pushing other people ahead of us down The Road. As the biosphere shrinks, McCarthy describes the collapse of the protagonist’s core beliefs. I sense that this might be happening already: that a hardening of interests, a shutting down of concern, is taking place among the people of the rich world. If this is true, we do not need to wait for the forests to burn or food supplies to shrivel before we decide that civilization is in trouble.

Impartiality guidelines ... I can imagine a future BBC panel discussion of rape and murder, the panel being composed of 3 in favour and 3 against. Must remain 'impartial' and post-political at all times: the political as uncivilized plague to be replaced by the 'neutral' administration of all social affairs ...

The second point of interest was the public's disavowal of any real problem and its continued belief in a magical Big Other that will somehow solve any possible crisis without anyone having to actually do anything, that status quo capitalism need not concern itself, being a flawless, infallible ideology:


Last week we learned that climate change could eliminate half the world’s species; that 25 primate species are already slipping into extinction; that biological repositories of carbon are beginning to release it, decades ahead of schedule. But everyone is watching and waiting for everyone else to move. The unspoken universal thought is this: “If it were really so serious, surely someone would do something?”

The flipside of this naivete - fatalism - is equally disasterous, equally a self-fulfilling fait accompli: "If everything's ultimately fucked, then why shouldn't I fly on an aircraft as much as I like? Everyone else is. What difference would it make to anything if I stopped? Why should I be singled out? And why shouldn't I consume whatever I like? What's the point in all this 'recycling' nonsense if we're all doomed anyway?"

Any collective response as unimaginable, impossible, alien; any individual response as pre-emptively impotent.

nomadologist
01-11-2007, 12:45 PM
amen, there's nothing more disappointing than the "left"'s response to the global climate crisis...flagrant hypocrisy in the ranks

turtles
01-11-2007, 06:49 PM
There's currently an ad running for the "enviro card" visa offered by a local credit union (https://www.vancity.com/MyMoney/ProductsandServices/Banking/VISACards/enviroClassicVISA/) which features a couple getting ready for their work day in the washroom, with the wife busily hairspraying her hair and hubby dumping on the spray-on deodorant, all the while discussing the advantages of the new enviro card the wife just picked up. As you watch you start saying to yourself, "jesus! that's a lot of aerosol! don't these people realize their hypocrisy!" Then the kicker, the commercial ends with the line "The Vancity enviro card: for people with good intentions"

just...WOW. They're explicitly putting forward pretty much the arguments given here, and then saying hey don't worry, buy it anyway. I still can't get over it. It's just too fucking meta-hypocritical or whatever you'd want to call it. Scares the hell out of me.

Gavin
01-11-2007, 06:58 PM
Carbon credit schemes writ small -- the new indulgences -- purchase your guilt away. The next level of commodity fetishism -- WE WILL ABSOLVE YOU.

In related news, oil companies advertising like crazy on liberal cable channels like Bravo and BBCAmerica. Chevron touts its research into solar power (spends more than anyone don't you know); BP its geothermal energy programs. Footage of pristine nature, and oil company employees kitted out like antiglobalization protestors and hippies trekking through the wilderness in search of elusive energy (the tobacco-company-financed Truth campaign was an early incorporation of this "lifestyle"). The slogan: "It's a start." Practically delivered with a shrug, and then a middle finger. Trust in capital, it's bigger than you.

ecohook
03-11-2007, 03:02 AM
World's first FM/AM nano-radio transmitter (no, not an effin iPod) successfully tested at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. I believe this Marks the first audio signal transmitted via nano-machines.

t/l:
1. Layla - Derek and the Dominoes
2. Beach Boys - Good Vibrations
Listen here (http://cdn.sfgate.com/blogs/sounds/sfgate/chroncast/2007/10/31/nanoradio-layla.mp3)

According to Sagan, this sort of rivals the supremacy of Germany's first interstellar TV signal, no? Absolutely and completely swrrrrrrrrrrt.

noel emits
03-11-2007, 10:01 AM
Are we to infer the relevance of that ecohook? Even the nano scientists are in the deathly grip of retro (un)cool?

As this is the 'carbon thread' the nano engineering of carbon cables for space elevators might be the link, and maybe the solution, if it can be made to work.

http://www.newscientist.com/blog/space/2007/10/nanotube-cable-proves-bust.html

ecohook
04-11-2007, 11:59 PM
Apologies. Thought I'd included the link (http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/MSD-nanoradio.html)s to (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/11/01/BUTBT44A2.DTL&type=business) the (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/11/01/BUTBT44A2.DTL&type=business) news.

Brain vs. digital war was in process. I suppose I'll leave your suspenseful moment in shambles and let you speculate on what it could mean for the carbon fetish community. Still, this can't yet be matched

<object width="425" height="355"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/htpCovoRtn0&rel=1"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/htpCovoRtn0&rel=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="355"></embed></object>

Mr. Tea
05-11-2007, 01:39 PM
There's currently an ad running for the "enviro card" visa offered by a local credit union (https://www.vancity.com/MyMoney/ProductsandServices/Banking/VISACards/enviroClassicVISA/) which features a couple getting ready for their work day in the washroom, with the wife busily hairspraying her hair and hubby dumping on the spray-on deodorant, all the while discussing the advantages of the new enviro card the wife just picked up.

I thought aerosol sprays have been more or less environmentally harmless since they stopped using CFCs in the 80s?

Mr. Tea
15-12-2007, 04:48 PM
Is this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7145608.stm
a) good?
b) bad?
c) business as usual (i.e. mostly bad)?

Chuu
31-07-2008, 07:53 PM
Two of my friends have just set up a company retiring EUA's from the European Union Emission Trading System: http://www.carbonretirement.com/ (NO SPAMO)

Talking to them they have explain to me why they believe it is a better way to reduce carbon emissions than traditional offsetting. Does anyone else think this is actually true? And is this the way we should be reducing our carbon emissions?

I don't just want to follow them blindly but I haven't really heard any of the arguments against their point of view

HMGovt
02-09-2008, 06:38 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/3869753.stm

Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high
By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years...
Dr Solanki is presenting a paper on the reconstruction of past solar activity at Cool Stars, Stellar Systems And The Sun, a conference in Hamburg, Germany. He says that the reconstruction shows the Maunder Minimum and the other minima that are known in the past thousand years. But the most striking feature, he says, is that looking at the past 1,150 years the Sun has never been as active as it has been during the past 60 years.

Turns out, four years later, we're now in an absolute solar minimum. No sunspots at all this month

http://www.dailytech.com/Sun+Makes+History+First+Spotless+Month+in+a+Centur y/article12823.htm

massrock
16-09-2009, 09:08 AM
Alberta's oilsands produce more greenhouse gas emissions than some European countries right now and will produce more than all of the world's volcanoes in just 11 years if the pace of development continues, a new report says.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/09/13/greenpeace-oilsands.html

scottdisco
16-09-2009, 11:12 AM
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/09/13/greenpeace-oilsands.html

:slanted:

i took a train from Toronto to Vancouver last autumn and from about northwest Ontario onward the amount of people getting on with a one-way ticket for Edmonton and that area was notable.

at that point, the great flood of people migrating for work was supposed to be slowing down a little bit compared to earlier times but hearing from people from all over, the risk/reward equation was clearly still favourable, despite the horror stories

mixed_biscuits
26-11-2009, 08:21 PM
Climate scientists behaving badly? (http://www.practicalethicsnews.com/practicalethics/2009/11/climate-scientists-behaving-badly-part-1.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed&#37;3A+PracticalEthics+%28Practical+ Ethics%29)

How high is the standard of epistemic character that [the global-warming] hawks hold themselves to? I fear it is not as high as it ought to be. Even prior to the leaked emails we had evidence of failings in these virtues. The emails give yet more evidence and also show how little hold the enumerated epistemic virtues have on the professional milieu of climate science. Indeed, it appears that within climate science, epistemic vice is practised without shame, and with little awareness that the vicious practices are vicious.

vimothy
15-02-2010, 10:01 PM
Will someone who understands this stuff tell me what's going on? Ta.

droid
16-02-2010, 09:34 AM
In relation to the hacked emails?

A bunch of climate scientists acted like total dicks and seriously damaged the credibility of themselves and the field. 4 or 5 lines of investigation and data out of thousands may be compromised. Right wing cretins and climate change deniers were on it like flies to shit, but even with the already damning evidence they felt the need to misquote and distort the nature of the emails.


More interesting is what is not contained in the emails. There is no evidence of any worldwide conspiracy, no mention of George Soros nefariously funding climate research, no grand plan to ‘get rid of the MWP’, no admission that global warming is a hoax, no evidence of the falsifying of data, and no ‘marching orders’ from our socialist/communist/vegetarian overlords. The truly paranoid will put this down to the hackers also being in on the plot though.

Instead, there is a peek into how scientists actually interact and the conflicts show that the community is a far cry from the monolith that is sometimes imagined. People working constructively to improve joint publications; scientists who are friendly and agree on many of the big picture issues, disagreeing at times about details and engaging in ‘robust’ discussions; Scientists expressing frustration at the misrepresentation of their work in politicized arenas and complaining when media reports get it wrong; Scientists resenting the time they have to take out of their research to deal with over-hyped nonsense. None of this should be shocking.

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/11/the-cru-hack/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/nov/25/monbiot-climate-leak-crisis-response
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cif-green/2009/nov/23/global-warming-leaked-email-climate-scientists

vimothy
16-02-2010, 10:16 AM
Yeah.

So what is the state of non-wingnut knowledge in the field now? Have any of the revelations changed what we thought we know? I've tried to trawl through the Guardian's website to find out what the actual effect on knowledge is, but everything seems to revolve around this three ring circus of who should get fired and who is to blame. I'm sure that's important, but I just want to know what this means in terms of climate change science. Can I buy that private jet I've always wanted?

Thanks

Mr. Tea
16-02-2010, 10:41 AM
I'm not sure, vim. My guess is 'almost certainly not' (in response to 'does it change what we know/thought we knew'). If you can afford a private jet then I'm coming up to Manchester for a pub crawl sharpish, and you are beyond all shadow of a doubt in the chair. In fact I'm close to City aiport right now, could you drop by and pick me up...?

Don't have a lot to add to the serious debate, except that I saw this yesterday in the Times: "World may not be warming, say [some] scientists" (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7026317.ece) (of course, they didn't put in the "some"... :slanted:). One of the comments was priceless - some genius claiming that anthropogenic climate change is a con perpetuated by the NWO in order to bring about mass depopulation of the world to the tune of billions of people. The mind fucking boggles.

droid
16-02-2010, 10:59 AM
Don't have a lot to add to the serious debate, except that I saw this yesterday in the Times: "World may not be warming, say [some] scientists" (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7026317.ece) (of course, they didn't put in the "some"... :slanted:). One of the comments was priceless - some genius claiming that anthropogenic climate change is a con perpetuated by the NWO in order to bring about mass depopulation of the world to the tune of billions of people. The mind fucking boggles.

This is a pretty common one actually. Along with theories that its all a con to tax us more/personally enrich climate scientists/keep developing nations down...

There was some absolutely appalling stuff in the media during Copenhagen. Monbiot is right, the 'skeptics' are winning.

Mr. Tea
16-02-2010, 11:18 AM
There was some absolutely appalling stuff in the media during Copenhagen. Monbiot is right, the 'skeptics' are winning.

Between this and 'intelligent design' it's enough to make me say "R.I.P. Science, 16XX to 19XX". We'll be back to burning witches before this decade's out, you watch.

Mr. Tea
14-04-2010, 11:54 AM
There was no scientific malpractice at the research unit at the centre of the "Climategate" affair, an independent panel has concluded. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8618024.stm)

nomadthethird
14-04-2010, 03:03 PM
Between this and 'intelligent design' it's enough to make me say "R.I.P. Science, 16XX to 19XX". We'll be back to burning witches before this decade's out, you watch.

They never really stopped that one...

But yeah I'm afraid for humanity. Humans are dumb.

Leo
14-04-2010, 03:09 PM
They never really stopped that one...

But yeah I'm afraid for humanity. Humans are dumb.

sad to say so much of this stupidity comes from the states. i'd like to personally apologize to the world for all the unhinged, over-the-top partisan rhetoric. and for sarah palin.

nomadthethird
14-04-2010, 04:42 PM
sad to say so much of this stupidity comes from the states. i'd like to personally apologize to the world for all the unhinged, over-the-top partisan rhetoric. and for sarah palin.

Yeah, but don't forget about the BNP in the U.K. There are ridiculous over-the-top partisans everywhere I think...

It's just that ours think Jesus rode a dinosaur and shit...

scottdisco
14-04-2010, 04:53 PM
Yeah, but don't forget about the BNP in the U.K. There are ridiculous over-the-top partisans everywhere I think...

It's just that ours think Jesus rode a dinosaur and shit...

the UK Independence Party - a group who want us to pull entirely out of the European Union and think in very simplistic ways about immigration and British identity - have recently started to come hard on the denialist bandwagon. kind of significant, i think, as their new chief is an ex-Tory party man, and a lord of the realm to boot. they should do relatively well at the upcoming British national election, although not anywhere near 'reins of power' well or anything, but they (and the BNP) are forcing the tone of the national conversation on some issues, in ways that mean Labour and the Tories (the two biggest parties) are saying some very regrettable things on the stump (in certain parts of the country whilst out campaigning, anyway).

sorry if the above reads really simplistic to any UK politics watchers (plus it's a bit OT), but just responding to Nomad, who i figure has got a great many better things to do than follow the ins and outs of smaller British parties, especially when she is thousands of miles away.

and agreed re partisans everywhere.

slowtrain
29-04-2010, 08:09 AM
I thought that there was now pretty damning evidence that the damage done is now irreversible? Some prominent scientist was saying that if the USA wants to send people to Mars, they should go to live or not go at all in New Scientist the other week (apologies for the terrible memory)


All seriousness aside for a moment, is anyone actually excited to be living a proto-apocalyptic anarcho junk world when climate change really kicks in?

I think it'd be pretty fun for a while

padraig (u.s.)
29-04-2010, 01:49 PM
All seriousness aside for a moment, is anyone actually excited to be living a proto-apocalyptic anarcho junk world when climate change really kicks in?

not in the least, not even in a joking fashion. aside from the fact that there is no magic moment when climate change suddenly "kicks in", there's not much to get whimsically excited about in the prospect of human suffering on a massive scale.

Mr. Tea
29-04-2010, 06:56 PM
Agree with padraig totally. It's not like we're going to wake up one day and everything'll look like Mad Max, it's a gradual (though deceptively rapid) process. And in some parts of the world it's already kicking in in a big way - thing is, these are generally parts of the world that are hot already (and, for the most part, developing/poor) or very cold. OK, so it's not the end of the world if a few wealthy people find the skiing season's getting shorter, but there's some pretty worrying stuff happening to ice sheets and sea ice coverage. Anything that affects the oceans is big news in climate terms, I mean water drives pretty much every process in the biosphere.

Dr Awesome
29-04-2010, 08:45 PM
Yemen is already suffering from chronic water shortages causing a breakdown in government, however central government was never strong there to begin with, being a mostly tribal society.
I doubt they'll (d)evolve into a Mad Max-esq dystopia though, I just can't see ethnic Arabs wearing leathers, sporting sawn off shotguns and cruising round Ford Falcons...

nomadthethird
29-04-2010, 08:57 PM
Agree with padraig totally. It's not like we're going to wake up one day and everything'll look like Mad Max, it's a gradual (though deceptively rapid) process. And in some parts of the world it's already kicking in in a big way - thing is, these are generally parts of the world that are hot already (and, for the most part, developing/poor) or very cold. OK, so it's not the end of the world if a few wealthy people find the skiing season's getting shorter, but there's some pretty worrying stuff happening to ice sheets and sea ice coverage. Anything that affects the oceans is big news in climate terms, I mean water drives pretty much every process in the biosphere.

I've heard people say that the acidity of the oceans now is a huge and intractable problem in and of itself that no one has any clue how to approach.

Just think of what will happen when the marine species-- which make up a huge percentage of all known species-- start dying off.

Famine, basically.

slowtrain
29-04-2010, 09:31 PM
Well, of course it's not going to be like that really... It's just an exciting imaginitive theory.... (Hence the 'all seriousness aside')

Plus there is the fact that if the ice caps do melt hugely, it stops the ocean conveyer, effectively making the ocean stagnant, which did happen once before (which has been the source of skeptics 'it's happened before so it's not man made' argument a few times from memory) but when that happened, 95% of all Earth's life died off.....

(Apologies for poor writing abilities)

padraig (u.s.)
29-04-2010, 10:31 PM
It's just an exciting imaginitive theory....

no, it's not. it feels redundant to have to actually point this out, but there are big chunks of the world that are already "post-apocalyptic". in some of them climate & environmental change is - regardless of cause - a significant factor (i.e. desertification), in some it is not. in either case, those places are mostly terrible for the people stuck living there. yes, you're kidding. not to generalize in re: persons I don't know on the Internet, but joking about/fetishizing post-apocalyptic scenarios is some middle-class exotification business if ever there twas. who would dream of misery but people who'd never experienced it? perhaps I'm a killjoy, but I just got sick to death of hearing this stuff - including from my own mouth - from green anarcho/primitivist* types when I was younger & more enamored of that scene.

*NB that I still think there's a lot to be said for those types, or more so their critique. the literal interpretation of primitivism taken to excess can get quite silly but I still believe learning primitive skills, & generally becoming more self-sufficient in anticipation of a future w/scarcer resources, is a good idea. & as big a fan as I am of science, there's something to be said for a concerted intellectual challenge to "progress" as the end all/be all, at the very least as a tool for reflection. I just think it's a matter to be taken rather seriously, as opposed to a Mad Max pirates in the wasteland lark.

vimothy
14-09-2010, 12:31 PM
Been reading about climate change recently. I have been struck by how flimsy the evidence in support of it is. Not the individual pieces of evidence, either, but the whole thing. Am I missing something obvious? Hopefully so. Since, I assume, almost everyone else here disagrees with this, let me ask some questions:

Do you think it is possible to model the economy accurately?

If so, what the fuck have we been doing for the last few years?

If not, what makes you think that modelling the climate is any easier?

grizzleb
14-09-2010, 01:18 PM
I've often wondered about the ostensible accuracy of climate models. Seems pretty impossible to model to me. I've not had a hard look at it though and I wouldn't know where to start really... Obviously EVERYONE agrees that climate change is happening blah de blah de blah but I've not seen anything that convinces me how or to what extent or anything really. It's one of those positions where everything seems a bit vague and unless you just roll with the consensus/accepted body of wisdom from superiors people look at you askance.

vimothy
14-09-2010, 01:33 PM
Exactly.

Thing is, I don't think those models are accurate in the slightest. Why would they be? What's interesting is that people are very good at being skeptical within a strictly limited domain, namely, the domain of claims made by their political enemies. Conservatives are skeptical about climate science and leftists are skeptical about economic science (of course, I'm generalising for effect). But the two are basically equivalent, i.e. if you don't think it's possible to economic science, then you shouldn't think it's possible to do climate science. And vice versa.

vimothy
14-09-2010, 03:25 PM
The other interesting thing is the status of science. Anyone who doubts global warming is a climate change denialist. As in, they are disagreeing with results that are hardcore science and are in effect claiming that the sun goes round the earth. Denying the established facts. Science makes it authoritative, the consensus makes it a fait accompli. But still (proximate) historical data and intensely unreliable models will only get you so far: not very far at all.

http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:m-V6c1ahMpuErM:http://img244.imageshack.us/img244/862/1000yearsco2smallej4.jpg&t=1

Consider the famous hockey stick. Obviously, the latter part is now somewhat controversial. But imagine that it is not. Does the trend tell us anything about causality? No. It just tells us about the trend: that a rise in CO2 coincided with a rise in the global mean temperature.

Continuing the economics analogy, have a look at this graph, which shows the correlation between "economic freedom" and PC GDP:

http://filipspagnoli.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/economic-freedom-and-income.jpg

Does this mean that the solution to everyone's problems is just to cut government spending and regulations? No, because correlation is not causation. Mistaking the two is the essence of cargo-cult science (http://www.lhup.edu/~DSIMANEK/cargocul.htm). If it were this simple, the Washington Consensus would have been a rip-roaring success and the problems of world poverty would be history. Just clear a run way, put on your wooden headset and wait for the planes to land.

If you listen to the rational expectations / DSGE types (http://newmonetarism.blogspot.com/), they will tell you the same things. What we do is science. Your criticism is common sense, not science. Therefore you are an idiot. And we are still right, even though we are sitting in the ruins that the failure of our models has created.

droid
15-09-2010, 08:48 AM
I look forward to your thread explaining how the theory of evolution is false.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 10:14 AM
I look forward to your thread explaining how the theory of evolution is false.

Note that I never said that climate change is false. (How could I?) But I think these analogies are useful and worth pursuing.

Evolution is an established scientific theory, about which reasonable people do not disagree. At least to my knowledge. Climate change is an established scientific fact, about which reasonable people do not disagree. The NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment) is a scientific fact, about which reasonable people do not disagree.

Are these statements equivalent? The first statement is undoubtedly true. And the evidentiary status of the NAIRU and climate change is equivalent, consisting of an empirical regularity (the hockey stick; the ‘70s), and model output (GCM; DSGE). But look—reasonable people do disagree about these in ways that they do not disagree about evolution. Why is this? Because neither climate science nor economic science can establish these “facts” as facts using these tools.

The reasons why are very simple and available to everyone. Even if paleoclimatology was totally unproblematic, it would still need to establish causality. Even if the models were better, computers would have to be far more powerful to properly capture the dynamic complexities of the planet’s climate.

Do you believe in the NAIRU?

droid
15-09-2010, 10:45 AM
AFAIK, the science behind climate change is as credible as the science behind evolution or the big bang.

The difference between economics and climatology/physics/chemistry/geology/biology etc... is that economics is dependent purely on the actions and psychology of humans and is more akin to sociology than hard science. It is entirely possible the societies could exist where nearly every rule of economics as we understand it could be turned on its head (CF Native Americans), the same is not true of climatology. No human belief system can change the fact that water evaporates at a certain temperature or that plants absorb x-amount of carbon etc...

massrock
15-09-2010, 10:52 AM
Consider the famous hockey stick. Obviously, the latter part is now somewhat controversial. But imagine that it is not. Does the trend tell us anything about causality? No. It just tells us about the trend: that a rise in CO2 coincided with a rise in the global mean temperature.
The data can't prove causality. But of course that's not all that climatologists look at is it? For one thing the greenhouse effect with regards to carbon dioxide is well understood. That makes the data far more compelling no?

scottdisco
15-09-2010, 11:50 AM
what is the % of economists who disagree w NAIRU? i know nothing about the dismal science but a quick Wiki shows that - like climate change debates - not everyone is on board w it.

monetarists certainly are. (when i hear the name Milton Friedman i tend to reach for my rifle ;) )

obviously not every one is on board w climate change, but i believe it is a very significant proportion of the scientific community. i am just wondering if it is a comparable proportion of the economists' community wrt NAIRU.

that said, i don't need to be an economist to know that every region of the world is getting more unequal (save Latin America since 2000, although i can't link to the FT piece i read about this in yday due to firewalls), or a climatologist to know the world has been heating up.

i like the device of comparing economics and climatology to get a debate going though Vim :cool:

droid
15-09-2010, 12:13 PM
what is the % of economists who disagree w NAIRU? i know nothing about the dismal science but a quick Wiki shows that - like climate change debates - not everyone is on board w it.

What % of scientists disagree with climate change/man made climate change? Last time I checked it was approx 0%.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

scottdisco
15-09-2010, 12:33 PM
What % of scientists disagree with climate change/man made climate change? Last time I checked it was approx 0%.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

thanks Droid. w that in mind, i think Vim's NAIRU analogy is, w respect, inappropriate.

economics seems far less rigorous to me than climatology.

i take on board the point that neither are as overarching as the theory of evolution, say, but as you say yourself, Droid, water does evaporate at a certain temperature, regardless.

etc.

scottdisco
15-09-2010, 12:40 PM
The difference between economics and climatology/physics/chemistry/geology/biology etc... is that economics is dependent purely on the actions and psychology of humans and is more akin to sociology than hard science.

bang on.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 12:50 PM
AFAIK, the science behind climate change is as credible as the science behind evolution or the big bang.

This isn’t true. (Actually I’m not 100% sure of the status of the big bang. I was under the impression that the book is not closed on it yet, but it’s not like I’m up to date on the field or anything).


The difference between economics and climatology/physics/chemistry/geology/biology etc... is that economics is dependent purely on the actions and psychology of humans and is more akin to sociology than hard science. It is entirely possible the societies could exist where nearly every rule of economics as we understand it could be turned on its head (CF Native Americans), the same is not true of climatology. No human belief system can change the fact that water evaporates at a certain temperature or that plants absorb x-amount of carbon etc...

What you’re saying is that there is essentially no difference between climate science and the “harder” sciences, whereas economics on the other hand is a social science, i.e. not a science at all, thus climate science pwns economics. Just think about this for a second. Exactly how is the issue settled? Can you reconstruct it for me?

The problems that economics faces are exactly the same as the problems that climate science faces: the complexity of the system, the impossibility of experiments, questionable data, and the overt politicisation of results.

Economics is a tool kit of mathematical models, from the simplest univariate constrained optimization problem, all the way up to dynamic stochastic models of the whole economy. There is no possible economy that cannot be modelled using these methods, just as there is no possible climate that cannot be modelled using GCM (nothing to do with psychology in either case). It’s as easy as pie to fit a regression line to a set of data points after the fact!

As John von Neumann said, give me four parameters and I can fit an elephant; with five I can wag its tail.

These models do not necessarily prove anything about anything, because all they show are the projections that the models are designed to produce. As such, they fall victim to the Lucas Critique (of course, so does Lucas, but that’s another story—oh wait, no it’s not, it’s the same story: that’s my point).

Consider a basic neoclassical growth model (the Cobb-Douglas production function):


Y = A(L^α)(K^β)

Where Y is output, A is total factor productivity (technological change), L is labour, K is capital, and α and β are output elasticities.

Pretty straightforward, eh! Who said economic development was hard?

Consider a basic greenhouse model:


Global Warming = 0.36 x (33°C) x [(Total Forcing) ÷ (Base Forcing)]

Again, pretty straightforward.

What do the models show? The models don’t necessarily show anything. Like I said, it’s as easy as pie to fit a regression line to a set of data.

It should be obvious that neither model is going to generate any large discontinuities. How do you feel about this? Consider the phase space of the climate—it’s absolutely huge, and massively complex. The climate exhibits discontinuous transitions from one position to another within this space (e.g. in 1976). It is not possible to accurately model this, even if plausible results are generated (i.e. results that lie within the boundary conditions of the climate). Plausible results don’t mean a whole lot. See also: macroeconomics.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 12:51 PM
The data can't prove causality. But of course that's not all that climatologists look at is it? For one thing the greenhouse effect with regards to carbon dioxide is well understood. That makes the data far more compelling no?

What do you mean by compelling? Man-made global warming is a plausible explanation of the hockey stick, so by all means use your judgment, but don’t mistake your judgment for scientific method.

grizzleb
15-09-2010, 12:53 PM
The similarities that climatology and economics have compared to 'physics' or other 'hard sciences' is that they are concerned with modelling and predicting the outcomes of extremely large complex systems about which our knowledge is vastly incomplete. The idea that human interaction is more complex, less predictable than all the various chemical, biological, geological processes on the planet working in tandem seems to me pretty vain.

droid
15-09-2010, 12:56 PM
All of the basic assumptions of economics are based on a model of human behaviour (rational choice. rational expectations etc...). The assumptions of climate change are based on observations and models of physical and chemical laws.

One of these two is predictable and consistent.

droid
15-09-2010, 12:58 PM
The similarities that climatology and economics have compared to 'physics' or other 'hard sciences' is that they are concerned with modelling and predicting the outcomes of extremely large complex systems about which our knowledge is vastly incomplete. The idea that human interaction is more complex, less predictable than all the various chemical, biological, geological processes on the planet working in tandem seems to me pretty vain.

I disagree. Physical laws are immutable. Gravity doesn't just wake up one morning and start behaving differently.

grizzleb
15-09-2010, 01:14 PM
But you're conflating things - gravity isn't whats being measured and analysed. It's the total sum of all the processes which are going on in the entire planet!!

droid
15-09-2010, 01:16 PM
But you're conflating things - gravity isn't whats being measured and analysed. It's the total sum of all the processes which are going on in the entire planet!!

Yes, and all of those processes are based on natural laws. Observable, verifiable natural laws.

The processes in economics are based on a model of human psychology. Irrational, contradictory human psychology.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 01:18 PM
Grizzleb is spot on here. The climate is not like a billiard ball whose movements you can predict with Newtonian physics. Absolutely not. In fact, it is not at all simple to make a predictive model of an individual molecule (http://wavefunction.fieldofscience.com/2009/11/more-model-perils-parametrize-this.html), let alone the planet's climate. The IPCC makes projections rather than predictions--why is this? It's not because modelling the climate is easy.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 01:27 PM
This is the famous graph from the IPCC. Note the word "projection". These are not predictions. Shouldn't the climate be easy to predict?

http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v14n01resources/figure1.jpg

Look at the error bars around the projected trend lines. It looks bad, right? But these aren't error bars, these are +/- one standard deviation individual model averages. I.e., if you run the model a large enough number of times, 68% of the time the trend line will run through the bars, and the mean trend will run through the mean trend. It's just a projection! If you take a linear function y = mx + c, and add an error term, so that you have say y = mx + c – ((rand(time) % 100) + 50), you will get a line that jumps around the trend, seemingly at random. But over a large enough number of simulations, you will end up with the average y = mx + c, which is presisely what the projections show.

Ultimately, it doesn't mean anything--there is no information about the physical uncertainty of the projections in the graph--it's just a projection of a linear regression that fits past data.

droid
15-09-2010, 01:27 PM
I never claimed it was easy, nor did I say that they're weren't problems with modeling. The basic fact remians though, natural physical processes are consistent and reliable, human behaviour is not.

Economics uses models to predict outcomes. These models in themselves are fundamentally based on a model of human behaviour. Climatology is based on models which are based on observable and predictable principles.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 01:30 PM
Well, like I said -- give me some data and enough variables and I'll fit whatever you want. It isn't science though. Economics is exactly the same. I don't need a model of human psychlogy to look at historical data and generate an aggregate production function--I just need a few parameters.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 01:32 PM
Just go back to the basic greenhouse model:


Global Warming = 0.36 x (33°C) x [(Total Forcing) ÷ (Base Forcing)]

What do you think of this? Does it look intuitively correct to you?

grizzleb
15-09-2010, 01:33 PM
I never claimed it was easy, nor did I say that they're weren't problems with modeling. The basic fact remians though, natural physical processes are consistent and reliable, human behaviour is not.

Economics uses models to predict outcomes. These models in themselves are fundamentally based on a model of human behaviour. Climatology is based on models which are based on observable and predictable principles.Lets run with this. Human behaviour is something which emerges out of and operates inside of physical laws, no? So the problem with human behaviour is not that they are always set to random - humans operate as a result of and inside of physical laws. However, the problem is that we have incomplete knowledge of how those laws operate in human behaviour. So we have a lack of knowledge about something which operates inside of physical laws, and therefore that makes predicting (or projecting) human behaviour something which is very difficult and easily mistaken.
So we can say that climate models also, whilst operating entirely as a result of and inside physical laws are still things of which we have an incomplete knowledge. That makes climate modelling also something which is very difficult and easily mistaken.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 01:37 PM
Exactly, all you have is a set of data points (proxies for the mosty part), and a regression line that you fit to them. GCM modellers don't understand the complex feed back effects or the topology of the climate phase space and how could they. No different to economic modellers.

droid
15-09-2010, 01:45 PM
How do you make a rational economic calculation in a society with no concept of private property?

vimothy
15-09-2010, 01:48 PM
bang on.

Actually, it's not.

First of all, the NAIRU is used by all modern central banks and policy makers. It is part of the academic consensus and every economics text book printed from the 80s on that I've ever bought has a section on it. It is the reason why we no longer have full employment policies.

Secondly, if climate science is equivalent to physics, can someone explain how they conduct controlled experiments?

Look, we can't all be Richard Feynman, but we can read his essay. Enlightenment is only a click away!

vimothy
15-09-2010, 01:53 PM
How do you make a rational economic calculation in a society with no concept of private property?

Rational just means maximising (of course this is not a formal definition!). It's no harder to generate a production function for a feudal society, a communistic society or any type of society than our own. Again, all you need is a scatter plot and a regression line.

scottdisco
15-09-2010, 01:56 PM
Actually, it's not.

First of all, the NAIRU is used by all modern central banks and policy makers. It is part of the academic consensus and every economics text book printed from the 80s on that I've ever bought has a section on it. It is the reason why we no longer have full employment policies.

Secondly, if climate science is equivalent to physics, can someone explain how they conduct controlled experiments?

Look, we can't all be Richard Feynman, but we can read his essay. Enlightenment is only a click away!

you got me Vim, as usual my dilettante entry into a thread is slapped down ;)

so the NAIRU consensus is a monetarist consensus?

vimothy
15-09-2010, 02:00 PM
so the NAIRU consensus is a monetarist consensus?

No, just a general consensus. There aren't really any monetarists any more, because everyone's aware that there is no empirical link between monetary aggregates and inflation. There is something called New Monetarism, but it's more like your bog-standard rational expectations stuff than anything MF ever wrote.

scottdisco
15-09-2010, 02:25 PM
cheers, i'll retract my NAIRU thing of course! i like the grading of evolution -> everything else, see what you're getting at.

do you know of any economic models that show/explain why Latin America has been the only region to make inroads into inequality since 2000? (pink-hued Latin America, in many cases, obviously. noting that may, of course, answer the question itself but i wouldn't want to be definitive. though given the likes of Paraguay and Brazil are some of the least equitable countries, i suppose you could say it's about time.)

vimothy
15-09-2010, 02:28 PM
Ah, don't retract it--you'll make me feel like even more of an ass. It was the closest analogy I could think of, and I think it's pretty good. But still.

And I know little about Latin America, I'm afraid. Maybe Mr Boshambles is about...?

massrock
15-09-2010, 03:52 PM
What do you mean by compelling? Man-made global warming is a plausible explanation of the hockey stick, so by all means use your judgment, but don’t mistake your judgment for scientific method.
Surely you don't mean scientific method because employing a reasonable hypothesis is entirely congruent with scientific method. I think what you mean to say is 'absolute proof' which is of course fair enough, I don't disagree there, but I wouldn't say that it's unscientific to suggest that this may well be what is happening and how it is happening. Note though that even this is not necessarily a judgement. i.e. there's an assumption that the global climate left to it's own devices is a self-regulating system, but can we say for sure that human beings and their actions are not part of such a homoeostatic mechanism? We were spawned by Earth after all. Probably.

Still though, the fact is that we are acting in the world and can see where our actions may be harmful to the global system and as human beings we are in a position to modify our actions.

Compelling (and I should hope this was obvious) means that showing a correlation in the data is one thing, but it is of course a much stronger pointer if a mechanism by which that process may occur can be understood and shown to exist.

So yes what it is is a plausible explanation. Would you prefer an implausible one?

massrock
15-09-2010, 03:55 PM
Some scientists may hold man-made global warming to be an incontrovertible fact, and you may like to suggest that this clam is not strictly in keeping with scientific method, which may again be fair enough as far as the way in which that claim is presented goes. Perhaps a little hyperbole to engage the imaginations of a wider audience. This doesn't change what we do know or observe though, or the likelihood of a given explanation being true. Or the fact that it may be highly prudent to take remedial action anyway even if it can't be absolutely proved at this point.

massrock
15-09-2010, 03:58 PM
i like the device of comparing economics and climatology to get a debate going though Vim :cool:
Yes, fair play for bringing it up in this way. Now let me read the rest of what people have said.

massrock
15-09-2010, 04:05 PM
What I'm saying is that's why it is taken seriously. The ads on buses might read "There probably is man-made climate change so start doing something about it."

massrock
15-09-2010, 04:09 PM
I never claimed it was easy, nor did I say that they're weren't problems with modeling. The basic fact remians though, natural physical processes are consistent and reliable, human behaviour is not.

Economics uses models to predict outcomes. These models in themselves are fundamentally based on a model of human behaviour. Climatology is based on models which are based on observable and predictable principles.
I think overall you could say that global climate and economics are both fundamentally unpredictable and impossible to model, that is they are chaotic systems.

But also in both cases there are subsets of simpler processes and actions that are well understood, and whose effects may be predicted.

Like, if you pump absurd amounts of money into an economy you can have an idea of some probable effects. Inflation etc.

So what happens when you pump loads of CO2 into a planet's atmosphere?

grizzleb
15-09-2010, 04:17 PM
I think overall you could say that global climate and economics are both fundamentally unpredictable and impossible to model, that is they are chaotic systems.

But also in both cases there are subsets of simpler processes and actions that are well understood, and whose effects may be predicted.

Like, if you pump absurd amounts of money into an economy you can have some idea of the probable effects. Inflation etc.

So what happens when you pump loads of CO2 into a planet's atmosphere?Kids playing with big piles of carbon, workers getting their breatheable air in the morning and their wives running to breathe it all up before it becomes mostly carbon?

droid
15-09-2010, 05:29 PM
Critical examination of the performance of climate models, leading to revision and improvement of the models, is a necessary and ongoing activity within climate modelling (see below). Nevertheless, it is worth stating some the inherent features of all models:


Climate models are based on fundamental physical laws (at the very basic level for example, Newton’s third law of motion) expressed in terms of mathematical equations. They are not, as in some prediction endeavours, statistical fits to past observations...


Each component of a model is thoroughly tested; often using data from field experiments or dedicated process models representing, for example the detailed structure of a cloud. Models and their components are subject to scientific peer review...


Models cannot be adjusted to give any answer a climate modeller might wish to get about climate change. The complexity of the system precludes this. Many features of the past and future climate produced by models, for example the climate sensitivity — the global mean temperature change for a doubling of CO2 — could not have been predicted or somehow set when the model was put together. During model development it is the case that optimisation occurs to make the model’s fields best fit observations of present-day climate. However, this is often somewhat ad hoc, and only in the case of some reduced complexity models has it been attempted systematically...


http://ukclimateprojections.defra.gov.uk/content/view/2106/500/

vimothy
15-09-2010, 05:37 PM
Surely you don't mean scientific method because employing a reasonable hypothesis is entirely congruent with scientific method.

I must say, I found your post rather hard to parse. What I'm saying is that yes it's fine to propose reasonable hypotheses, but don't mistake your hypothesis for a result, no matter how reasonable or otherwise.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 05:50 PM
Note though that even this is not necessarily a judgement. i.e. there's an assumption that the global climate left to it's own devices is a self-regulating system, but can we say for sure that human beings and their actions are not part of such a homoeostatic mechanism? We were spawned by Earth after all. Probably.

Again, please note that I have not said that AGW is not happening--only that the evidence for it is not strong.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 05:53 PM
Some scientists may hold man-made global warming to be an incontrovertible fact, and you may like to suggest that this clam is not strictly in keeping with scientific method, which may again be fair enough as far as the way in which that claim is presented goes.

No, you misunderstand me. I'm obviously not being clear enough, which is my fault. Perhaps there is another way to put this...

scottdisco
15-09-2010, 06:02 PM
basically, Vim (and do stop me if i'm being a bit bold w my necessarily broad brush strokes, Vim :D ) was painted as a Hayekian when he first came on this board, more or less (whether that was fair or otherwise is moot for the purposes of this post).

from the bits of his blog i can understand, of late he has turned more to Keynes.

so perhaps a gradual re-appraisal of economic models has inspired him to train his eye on this thread experiment we're currently engaged in?

massrock
15-09-2010, 06:05 PM
I must say, I found your post rather hard to parse. What I'm saying is that yes it's fine to propose reasonable hypotheses, but don't mistake your hypothesis for a result, no matter how reasonable or otherwise.

Hmm, maybe something to do with clams causing misunderstanding.

You said:

so by all means use your judgment, but don’t mistake your judgment for scientific method.
Well, it seems to me that judgement may be employed in forming a hypothesis. so judgement is not incompatible with scientific method. So i said that when you say 'scientific method' there you seem really to intend to say 'proof'...

What I'm saying is that yes it's fine to propose reasonable hypotheses, but don't mistake your hypothesis for a result, no matter how reasonable or otherwise.
..or 'result', although you can have a result without proof. a result may be inconclusive.

Incidentally where is this 'your' directed? What I'm saying is that this is the reasoning, i.e. it's not simply that there is a correlation in the graphs.

Who is it who are mistaking '[their] hypothesis for result'? Although now you seem to be about to not say that.

massrock
15-09-2010, 06:17 PM
Again, please note that I have not said that AGW is not happening--only that the evidence for it is not strong.
I know.

I wasn't addressing what your position might be there, nor was I saying either way, either. Something slightly separate, though not really separate. about how AGW can be thought about anyway.


No, you misunderstand me. I'm obviously not being clear enough, which is my fault. Perhaps there is another way to put this...

What makes you say that from what you've quoted there? Anyway, carry on...

massrock
15-09-2010, 06:29 PM
Don't many approach this from a pragmatic risk assessment angle anyway? (sure this has been well covered in this thread already...)

That is, what's preferable:

If we do nothing and it turns out to be true.

If we do stuff / stop doing stuff and it turns out to be false.

Also I think a general application of the understanding that our actions have an effect on the environment is a good thing to have either way. Global warming isn't the only issue.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 06:31 PM
The problem with economics, as with all the social sciences, is that controlled experiments are not easy. For instance, Japan is in the news a lot recently. While it endured its "lost decade" (more like two decades) Japan ran huge deficits and held interest rates down over prolonged periods. What is the relation between Japan's economic performance and its macroeconomic policy? A lot of people will tell you a lot of things about Japan. For instance, some people will tell you that the Bank of Japan got the response that it wanted, meaning it ran a tight monetary policy to prevent inflation. Others that the Japanese government caused deflation because it ran easy money and deficit spent. Or that the Japanese government actually prevented a worse contraction by keeping money loose and deficit spending. Obviously, you could think of a lot of other ways to explain the correlation between Japan's economic performance and its low rates and deficit spending regime.

The stakes are pretty high, no? With something like this, I think its very hard not to have a gut reaction. And rightly so, perhaps. But to answer this question we would need to run the following experiment:

Japan--no spending, high rates
Japan--no spending, low rates
Japan--deficit spending, high rates
Japan--deficit spending, low rates

Holding everything else constant. Since we don't have access to any spare parallel universes, we are left with models. Incredibly complicated, enormous, CPU destroying multi-sectoral models of the economy. And, yes, quelle suprise, different models give different results, depending on the assumptions made when building the model. And note that although all our hypotheses can be wrong, they can't all be right. A great help, eh!

vimothy
15-09-2010, 06:43 PM
Hmm, maybe something to do with clams causing misunderstanding.

You said:


Well, it seems to me that judgement may be employed in forming a hypothesis. so judgement is not incompatible with scientific method. So i said that when you say 'scientific method' there you seem really to intend to say 'proof'...

Yes, this may be becoming a bit semantic here (?) but I mean that making a judgement based on your gut feeling or intuition (or anything) is not science and being able to point to a correlation is not science either. (By science I just mean hypothesis testing with controlled repeatable experiments, etc, etc). Not that I'm accusing you of that. At least, I don't think so. These threads
get knotty! Now, where are we...?


..or 'result', although you can have a result without proof. a result may be inconclusive.

Yes


Incidentally where is this 'your' directed? What I'm saying is that this is the reasoning, i.e. it's not simply that there is a correlation in the graphs.

Sorry, that's not aimed at you! I mean "you" rhetorically. Maybe I should have said "one", eh wot!


Who is it who are mistaking '[their] hypothesis for result'? Although now you seem to be about to not say that.

Paleoclimatologists in this instance. Climate scientists in general. But I was being a little glib.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 06:47 PM
http://ukclimateprojections.defra.gov.uk/content/view/2106/500/

All of this could be said of DSGE models you know.

vimothy
15-09-2010, 06:55 PM
Don't many approach this from a pragmatic risk assessment angle anyway? (sure this has been well covered in this thread already...)

That is, what's preferable:

If we do nothing and it turns out to be true.

If we do stuff / stop doing stuff and it turns out to be false.

Also I think a general application of the understanding that our actions have an effect on the environment is a good thing to have either way. Global warming isn't the only issue.

Agree with your final two sentences, absolutely.

I think the proper way to think about the possible scenarios is more like this:

Do nothing, make things worse
Do something, make things worse
Do nothing, make things better
Do something, make things better

How do you pick between these?

vimothy
15-09-2010, 07:02 PM
basically, Vim (and do stop me if i'm being a bit bold w my necessarily broad brush strokes, Vim :D ) was painted as a Hayekian when he first came on this board, more or less (whether that was fair or otherwise is moot for the purposes of this post).

from the bits of his blog i can understand, of late he has turned more to Keynes.

Nowadays, we take a little of both ;)

droid
16-09-2010, 09:39 AM
All of this could be said of DSGE models you know.

No it couldn't. DSGE models are not based on fundamental physical laws. There are ultimately based on microeconomic principles which are in turn based on models of human behaviour.

vimothy
16-09-2010, 12:11 PM
No it couldn't. DSGE models are not based on fundamental physical laws.

Of course they are based on fundamental physical laws. Every physical process in the universe obeys the Laws of Thermodynamics--economics is no different to climate science in this respect. What we are talking about in both cases is modelling the behaviour of highly complex dynamic systems.

For instance, the climate contains many coupled oscillating subsystems, like the ENSOs, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO, discovered twelve years ago), the North Atlantic Oscillation, etc, etc. The climate also includes atmospheric winds, the atmosphere itself, and on and on, and all these subsystems are exchanging energy between themselves, between themselves and the sea, the ice caps, changing the temperature of any of the systems without any external cause. Before humans started producing CO2, the climate of the planet changed all of its own accord. Pretty crazy, huh?

My point is that you are massively overestimating the power of these models. I don’t know why that is, but you are. Look again at the IPCC’s graph.


http://www.skeptic.com/the_magazine/featured_articles/v14n01resources/figure1.jpg

You posted some kind of corporate brochure from these GCM guys and it says that the models are not statistical fits, they are micro and meso founded models of the climate. Sure, just like DSGE models. And, just like DSGE models, GCMs tie down parameters in their micro and meso foundations (so-called “deep parameters” in the DSGE lit) by fitting (or calibrating) to historical data or proxies thereof. Of course, these models are hugely complicated. But, on average, all of the noise from the complex positive and negative feedback effects and dynamic mediation cancels out to give a pretty linear response to nothing more than simple greenhouse forcing, for example as described in the basic greenhouse model I gave earlier:


Global Warming = 0.36 x (33°C) x [(Total Forcing) ÷ (Base Forcing)]

Hugely complicated, yes, in principle. In practice, not so much.

Mr BoShambles
20-09-2010, 07:29 PM
There was no scientific malpractice at the research unit at the centre of the "Climategate" affair, an independent panel has concluded. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8618024.stm)

There is only one way to describe the findings of the Muir-Russell review: Whitewash!

Read this -- The Cimategate Emails (http://www.lavoisier.com.au/articles/greenhouse-science/climate-change/climategate-emails.pdf) -- long but compelling. It presents many of the leaked CRU emails, in chronological order, with a supplementary commentary.

"Climategate has shattered [a] myth. It gives us a peephole into the work of the scientists investigating arguably the most important issue ever to face mankind. Instead of seeing large collaborations of meticulous, careful, critical scientists, we instead see a small team of incompetent scientists; abusing almost every aspect of the framework of science to build a fence around themselves and their fellow activists, to prevent real scientists from seeing the shambles of their “research”. Most people find it impossible to believe that this could have happened; and it is only because “climate science” exploded from a relatively tiny corner of academia into a hugely funded industry in a matter of a few years that the perpetrators were able to get away with it for so long."

The thought that so much Government policy is based on the flawed work of these corrupted and self-serving "scientists" is alarming.

Mr. Tea
20-09-2010, 10:44 PM
"Climategate has shattered [a] myth. It gives us a peephole into the work of the scientists investigating arguably the most important issue ever to face mankind. Instead of seeing large collaborations of meticulous, careful, critical scientists, we instead see a small team of incompetent scientists; abusing almost every aspect of the framework of science to build a fence around themselves and their fellow activists, to prevent real scientists from seeing the shambles of their “research”. Most people find it impossible to believe that this could have happened; and it is only because “climate science” exploded from a relatively tiny corner of academia into a hugely funded industry in a matter of a few years that the perpetrators were able to get away with it for so long."


Yeah, obviously the almighty climate-science community commands wealth and power beyond the wildest dreams of the impoverished fossil-fuels lobby... :rolleyes:

That PDF document is published by the Lavoisier Group. A few seconds' browsing turned this up:


The Lavoisier Group continues to hold annual conferences, and the group has promoted a variety of theories contradicting the mainstream scientific positions on global warming, including the arguments of retired judge, amateur climatologist and astrologer Theodor Landscheidt, whose work on solar cycles was used to argue that observed warming is based on solar cycles, and hence is not anthropogenic and will soon be reversed.

Blaming climate change on solar cycles won't wash because these cycles are about 11 years in length but recent climate change has seen a decade-on-decade increase in average temperatures.

Mr BoShambles
20-09-2010, 10:50 PM
That PDF document is published by the Lavoisier Group.

It wasn't the Lavoisier Group who wrote those emails now was it! Have you actually read them T?


Blaming climate change on solar cycles won't wash because these cycles are about 11 years in length but recent climate change has seen a decade-on-decade increase in average temperatures.

Apart from the last decade eh -- global cooling since 1998/99 right?

Mr. Tea
20-09-2010, 11:00 PM
Apart from the last decade eh -- global cooling since 1998/99 right?

Huh? The last ten years were the hottest decade on record!

Mr BoShambles
21-09-2010, 12:07 AM
Erm... :o so it was!

Strange that Mick Kelly - climatologist at the CRU - sent an email (pg. 126) in Oct of 2008 discussing the:

"possibility that we might be going through a longer—10-year—period of relatively stable temperatures beyond what you might expect from La Nina, etc."

Not sure what's going on there.

vimothy
21-09-2010, 08:52 AM
That PDF document is published by the Lavoisier Group. A few seconds' browsing turned this up…

Blaming climate change on solar cycles won't wash because these cycles are about 11 years in length but recent climate change has seen a decade-on-decade increase in average temperatures.

So far we have heard from authority—that voice of wisdom, the academic consensus, which is infallible, yea, like the Pope.

Then the argument that predicting the climate is possible, and since it is possible, it has actually happened.

Now, the argument tu quoque (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque), eh? ‘Twas ever thus.

The Lavoisier Group could be screaming Nazi Satanist paedophiles and it wouldn’t make the activities of the “Hockey Team” any more palatable.

Of course, the full irony of your implication is only available to you if you have actually read the emails.


Yeah, obviously the almighty climate-science community commands wealth and power beyond the wildest dreams of the impoverished fossil-fuels lobby... :rolleyes:

I’ve noticed a funny thing about the awesome power of the fossil-fuels lobby—it doesn’t seem to be very effective. In fact, one needs only to link a critic of the global warming lobby to it to totally discredit them in the eyes of all right thinking people. Furthermore, they don’t actually seem to be winning, do they?

Not that the environmentalists have received any money from oil companies. Okay, okay, so maybe they have received money from oil companies, but the environmentalists are morally superior in any case, so the fact that they take the oil men’s’ coin makes them not corrupt but clever. At least, it’s certainly no reflection on their character.

Mr. Tea
21-09-2010, 09:31 AM
God, that's a 180-page document...I might have a look at it at some point. Even then, it has to be borne in mind that these emails have been cherry-picked from years of correspondence, right?

It's interesting that you seem to think the enviros are "winning" because the GW sceptics get bashed in the media and public opinion is against them. Thing is, public opinion means jack shit in terms of fossill fuel use and GHG emissions if it isn't reflected in government policy, doesn't it? If everything is so rosy for mainstream climate scientists, how come we're all burning FFs like never before?

Edit: MrB, "stable" doesn't preclude "hot", does it?

padraig (u.s.)
21-09-2010, 10:20 AM
all respect as always, but that's some shoddy work man. it's one thing to question the CC models - fair enough - but some of this other stuff, I mean...


I’ve noticed a funny thing about the awesome power of the fossil-fuels lobby—it doesn’t seem to be very effective. In fact, one needs only to link a critic of the global warming lobby to it to totally discredit them in the eyes of all right thinking people. Furthermore, they don’t actually seem to be winning, do they?

yes, the fossil fuels lobby is so ineffective that the United States still hasn't passed - and likely won't - any kind of major energy reform bill, so ineffective that up to the BP spill even a (relatively) liberal Dem president was calling for more off-shore drilling, so ineffective that fossil fuels still account for the ENORMOUS MAJORITY of energy use. meanwhile, their opponents have gotten, a scratchy patchwork of solar & wind subsidies, and um, the lameduck Kyoto Protocols, and...and...but BP and Shell have full-page ads in magazines about how much they care about the environment so I guess everything's cool yunno?

I could go on about the way in which coal, oil, etc lobbies & their pr firms go on about setting up invidious front-group climate "think tanks" and the like to foster a false sense of debate (tho, granted, not all scientists who question CC are in someone's pocket. just a whole bunch of them), but I won't.


Not that the environmentalists have received any money from oil companies...

first off, don't lump all "the environmentalists" in together. if I was to make a blanket statement referring to "the economists" as a single group you'd rightly jump all over it for being ridiculous, no? second, there are many, many environmentalists who've never taken a red cent from oil etc and never will, so you can get down off that high horse pretty quick, bro. actually, which "environmentalists" are you referring to, and in what context? come on, then.

vimothy
21-09-2010, 10:54 AM
God, that's a 180-page document...I might have a look at it at some point. Even then, it has to be borne in mind that these emails have been cherry-picked from years of correspondence, right?

I do not think it is possible to discuss they content of the emails until you have read them.

I do not know if the emails were “cherry picked” (though as D'Arrigo (http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/user/druidrd) observed to the NAS panel, “you have to pick cherries if you want to make cherry pie” (!!! (http://climateaudit.org/2006/03/07/darrigo-making-cherry-pie/))), but I submit that if they were, there is going to have to be some pretty astounding context missing if it is to throw some positive light on these guys. Again, you really need to read the emails to properly appreciate this.

Most of that doc is ignorable at no great loss. The context provided is helpful, and the author’s tone is appropriate, but since the scale of abuse is so large, eventually his interjections become monotonous, until they finally blur out into a drone of generic disapproval. Blah, blah, blah—these are bad, untrustworthy guys and this is an abuse of scientific method and the peer-review process. We geddit—it’s obvious just from reading the emails. So read ‘em.


It's interesting that you seem to think the enviros are "winning" because the GW sceptics get bashed in the media and public opinion is against them. Thing is, public opinion means jack shit in terms of fossill fuel use and GHG emissions if it isn't reflected in government policy, doesn't it? If everything is so rosy for mainstream climate scientists, how come we're all burning FFs like never before?

I think it’s quite obvious that the enviros are winning. Consider how the debate has moved forward since the ‘70s. Would you say that the green lobby or the oil lobby has made the most progress in that time? You’ve already basically agreed that it’s the green lobby. But what about policy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emissions_trading)? It’s not like these guys have been ignored by policy makers. And how would you influence policy anyway? You influence all the important people whose opinions count, and you wait for it to trickle down. I score all the points for the enviros so far.

And the amount of fossil-fuels we’re burning? The problem is that human society needs a lot of energy. It’s very difficult to replace fossil-fuels with anything else—but this isn’t because of anything the oil lobby has or hasn’t done.

Mr. Tea
21-09-2010, 11:11 AM
Granted, the green lobby has made a lot of progress given that it has basically grown from nothing in the interval of a few decades. And it has had *some* effect on policy, such as emissions trading as you mention - but I'm really not sure how effective this is in reducing overall emissions, I mean it just means the big fossil fuel consumers pay for the right to pollute and carry on as normal, doesn't it? This is not a problem that can be tackled just by attaching a nominal levy to certain kinds of industrial activity.

If the green lobby is 'winning', how come America's CO2-equivalent emissions look like this:

http://www.pewclimate.org/docUploads/images/trends-ghg-emissions_021307_092819.gif

?

vimothy
21-09-2010, 11:20 AM
Come on dude, deep breaths…


all respect as always, but that's some shoddy work man. it's one thing to question the CC models - fair enough - but some of this other stuff, I mean...

What other stuff? So far I’ve questioned the GCMs and nothing else. There are also some serious problems with paleoclimatology, namely, that you can hardly inductively prove AGW from stochastic time series, and that the guys at the top of this field are patently corrupt.


yes, the fossil fuels lobby is so ineffective that the United States still hasn't passed - and likely won't - any kind of major energy reform bill, so ineffective that up to the BP spill even a (relatively) liberal Dem president was calling for more off-shore drilling, so ineffective that fossil fuels still account for the ENORMOUS MAJORITY of energy use. meanwhile, their opponents have gotten, a scratchy patchwork of solar & wind subsidies, and um, the lameduck Kyoto Protocols, and...and...but BP and Shell have full-page ads in magazines about how much they care about the environment so I guess everything's cool yunno?

Again, when you look back over the last forty years, what do you see? The relentless march of the oil lobby, crushing all in its path and reducing the theory of man made global warming to a laughing stock, comparable to holocaust denial among the fashionable, clever and well off people who run the civil service, the newspapers, the universities, etc, etc? I’m not saying that Gavin Schmidt rules the world, you know.

That fossil fuels account for the majority for energy use doesn’t prove that the enviros were unsuccessful, or that they were unsuccessful. It just proves that replacing fossil fuels with something else is hard.

The fact that BP and Shell have full page ads about how much they care about the environment just means that they are not complete idiots and can at least tell which way the wind is blowing.


I could go on about the way in which coal, oil, etc lobbies & their pr firms go on about setting up invidious front-group climate "think tanks" and the like to foster a false sense of debate (tho, granted, not all scientists who question CC are in someone's pocket. just a whole bunch of them), but I won't.

Funny how you should say that and then in the next sentence say,


first off, don't lump all "the environmentalists" in together.

My bad! Though is we’re talking about two distinct groups occupying opposing sides of a debate, lumping together is unavoidable. But I digress..


second, there are many, many environmentalists who've never taken a red cent from oil etc and never will

Of course.


actually, which "environmentalists" are you referring to, and in what context?

You really ought to read the emails. Don’t you think that Shell is capable of giving money to some of the CRU crowd? I thought you were more Machiavellian than this.

vimothy
21-09-2010, 11:26 AM
If the green lobby is 'winning', how come America's CO2-equivalent emissions look like this

Well, let me answer that by asking you—why do you assume that this represents the victory of the fossil fuel lobby? Are you basically saying that if there was no fossil fuel lobby, that the US would have already cut its emissions? Don’t you think that there may be a few more relevant factors explaining fossil fuel use than a lobby?

Mr. Tea
21-09-2010, 11:59 AM
Well, let me answer that by asking you—why do you assume that this represents the victory of the fossil fuel lobby? Are you basically saying that if there was no fossil fuel lobby, that the US would have already cut its emissions? Don’t you think that there may be a few more relevant factors explaining fossil fuel use than a lobby?

I'm concentrating more on the green lobby than the fossil fuels lobby, because it's the former that wants to bring about major changes to the way energy resources are used, while the latter is interested (I assume) mainly in maintaining the status quo, which is to say, the use of fossil fuels to provide the vast majority of global energy needs.

To invert the question: if, as you claim, the green lobby is so powerful, how come the CO2 emissions from the world's biggest economy and second-biggest carbon polluter are going up instead of down? I just think you're making environmental scientists and campaigners into a straw man by making out that they represent a much bigger threat to the security of the mainstream energy industry than they evidently do. I mean, as padraig mentions, in recent times it's taken something as obvious and visible as the Deepwater Horizon disaster to actually shake things up at all, which I think says a lot.

padraig (u.s.)
21-09-2010, 12:08 PM
Come on dude, deep breaths…

don't even play that bro you know I'm always cool as a cucumber on ice. or a melting Arctic ice sheet, yunno...


The relentless march of the oil lobby, crushing all in its path and reducing the theory of man made global warming to a laughing stock, comparable to holocaust denial among the fashionable, clever and well off people who run the civil service, the newspapers, the universities, etc, etc?

not to belabor, but what matters is what policies are implemented, on a large scale, not what's in the newspapers etc. granted former (possibly) influences latter, albeit nebulously, but push comes to shove policy still overwhelmingly - overwhelmingly - in favor of energy concerns.

also please don't me tell me you're busting out a liberal elites line (the fashionable elite etc), not even bro, you're better than that.

I'm perfectly happy to lump all energy concern lobbyists into one group, btw. I'm also willing to concede that some, if not all, environmental advocates are not too dissimilar, generally the closer they get to being k street lobbyist types themselves. speaking of which:


Don’t you think that Shell is capable of giving money to some of the CRU crowd? I thought you were more Machiavellian than this.

of course they are. BP gave half a billion dollars to UC Berkeley for alternative fuels research 3 years ago. actually there's a more involved answer here but I have to go to class, if I get a chance I'll try to throw it down later.

vimothy
21-09-2010, 01:12 PM
To invert the question: if, as you claim, the green lobby is so powerful, how come the CO2 emissions from the world's biggest economy and second-biggest carbon polluter are going up instead of down?

Growth.


I just think you're making environmental scientists and campaigners into a straw man by making out that they represent a much bigger threat to the security of the mainstream energy industry than they evidently do.

The enviromental campaigners are winning the "war of ideas", which is victory in the long run. Do you know any idealistic young people who want to be oil company lobbyists when they grow up?

Mr. Tea
21-09-2010, 02:03 PM
Growth.


Yes, economic growth powered by industrial growth powered, very largely, by fossil fuel consumption. Which is what fossil fuel suppliers want (obviously...) and what environmental campaigners don't want.

Your answer is so automatic it makes me wonder if 'growth' and 'fossil fuel consumption' aren't basically synonymous in your mind. Don't forget that France generates most of its energy from uranium; Iceland relies on geothermal; Norway and Canada get most of their juice from hydro; in Brazil it's biofuels...



The enviromental campaigners are winning the "war of ideas", which is victory in the long run.

Well I don't know about that. I think you're remarkably "optimistic" (from an environmentalist POV!) about how effective public opinion and media pressure are in shaping energy policy. And in any case, much of the press in this country is remarkably hostile to environmentalism and even openly supportive of AGW scepticism.

vimothy
21-09-2010, 02:24 PM
On the contrary, I think that public opinion is shaped--it does not shape in turn. Most people simply believe what they think other people believe.

As for the alternatives to fossil fuels you list, most are not feasible, and there seems to be some small issue with nuclear power--perhaps it is that nefarious fossil fuel lobby again....

Mr. Tea
21-09-2010, 02:41 PM
Well obviously I'm not saying it would be as easy as Obama clicking his fingers and the entire USA transferring to a low-carbon economy overnight - uranium doesn't grow on trees (and yes, nuclear power has a, shall we say, colourful history), you need lots of mountains and lakes for hydro to be feasible, and so on.

OTOH, even if you're convinced that AGW is a total con, you only have to look at the recent BP fiasco, to say nothing of the petropolitics of the Middle East, Russia, Nigeria and elsewhere to see that an economy wholly predicated on the eternal availability of cheap fossil fuels is a bit, well, precarious.

Mr BoShambles
21-09-2010, 02:50 PM
OTOH, even if you're convinced that AGW is a total con, you only have to look at the recent BP fiasco, to say nothing of the petropolitics of the Middle East, Russia, Nigeria and elsewhere to see that an economy wholly predicated on the eternal availability of cheap fossil fuels is a bit, well, precarious.

Yep def agree with that. There are good reasons why investment in renewable energy is desirable. But the AGW impending catastrophe discourse is not one of them -- that is until it is supported by objective (i.e. disinterested/non-politicised) science that stands up to scrutiny.

Mr. Tea
21-09-2010, 03:08 PM
I'm starting to wonder if it's even possible to conduct "non-politicised" research into a subject as (ahem) heated as climate change. Whatever you say, there will be people who'll jump on your findings and hold them up as indisputable proof that their argument is the correct one and other people who'll call you corrupt, incompetent, in the pocket of [whatever] and so on. To say nothing of the question of where you get the money from to do the research in the first place.

vimothy
21-09-2010, 03:08 PM
you only have to look at the recent BP fiasco, to say nothing of the petropolitics of the Middle East, Russia, Nigeria and elsewhere to see that an economy wholly predicated on the eternal availability of cheap fossil fuels is a bit, well, precarious.

Yep def agree with that.

Me too.

vimothy
21-09-2010, 05:20 PM
don't even play that bro you know I'm always cool as a cucumber on ice. or a melting Arctic ice sheet, yunno...

Cucumbers should only be served on bread old chap.


not to belabor, but what matters is what policies are implemented, on a large scale, not what's in the newspapers etc. granted former (possibly) influences latter, albeit nebulously, but push comes to shove policy still overwhelmingly - overwhelmingly - in favor of energy concerns.

What you are saying is that absent the fossil fuel lobby, the natural path of policy is green. This may be true--but is it? How do you know?


also please don't me tell me you're busting out a liberal elites line (the fashionable elite etc), not even bro, you're better than that.

Naturally, I'd hate to agree with Glenn Beck on anything--I'm perfectly conventional in that respect--but don't you think that it's more fashionable to be liberal than conservative? I mean, John Stewart or Michelle Malkin? It's a no-brainer dude. Conservatives are complete dorks. (Probably not unsurprisingly given conservatism's lack of cache, I've only ever really known one member of the Tory Party my own age. He was a friendless dork as well). Even the fashionable conservatives are liberal (Frum vs. Coulter, e.g.--of course you know Dave goes to better parties).

The "liberal elites" trope is not without truth either. US conservatives drone on about this, and, since conservatives are dorks, this tends to discredit it in the eyes of right thinking people, i.e. those of us who are not tribally affiliated with the conservative movement, i.e. those of us who are not dorks. And yet, in the last fifty years, can you think of one substantial issue on which society has become more right wing? Why is this? It's not because of anything Sarah Palin ever did.


I'm perfectly happy to lump all energy concern lobbyists into one group, btw. I'm also willing to concede that some, if not all, environmental advocates are not too dissimilar, generally the closer they get to being k street lobbyist types themselves.

No doubt. There are a lot of entrenched interests because there is a lot of money and power at stake, and everyone likes money and power--especially environmentalists. ;)


of course they are. BP gave half a billion dollars to UC Berkeley for alternative fuels research 3 years ago. actually there's a more involved answer here but I have to go to class, if I get a chance I'll try to throw it down later.

Cool. Bring it, yo!

droid
22-09-2010, 08:56 AM
And yet, in the last fifty years, can you think of one substantial issue on which society has become more right wing? Why is this? It's not because of anything Sarah Palin ever did.


Er...

Foreign Policy,
Economic policy,
Taxation,
Healthcare,
Welfare,
Labour/Unions

Mr. Tea
22-09-2010, 09:59 AM
Er...

Foreign Policy,
Economic policy,
Taxation,
Healthcare,
Welfare,
Labour/Unions

I was gonna say something like this, probably wouldn't have been as comprehensive yet succint as droid's list though...even just thinking about the welfare state in the UK, it's gone (in the public eye, I mean) from being this great wonderful thing that cares for us from-cradle-to-grave to a taxpayer-funded money-drain for supporting scroungers and layabouts.

In general people are less homophobic and racist than they used to be, but that doesn't really equate to an overall leftward shift in public political opinion.

vimothy
22-09-2010, 02:17 PM
So what you’re saying is that if Dave got in a time machine and went back 50 years, he would be to the right of the mainstream of the Tory party? Are you sure you’re not confusing him with Frederick the Great?

There are cyclical variations (and the odd spasm – Thatcher, e.g.) but the broad sweep of history is unmistakable, a monotonic secular trend to the left. It’s the reason why we have a welfare state in the first place, along with other equally peculiar institutions like, yunno, democracy and shit. Political progress is that gradual movement of our institutions from the right hand side of the chamber to the left.

vimothy
22-09-2010, 02:22 PM
I don't know what to make of your list droid, BTW. I guess you will have to put some meat on those bones. Certainly foreign policy circa now is to the left of Imperial Britain. (You agree with that, surely). The post WWII Keynesian demand management regime complicates matters slightly, but it's abandonment reflects its failure, and it has certainly hasn't marked a change in the trend.

droid
22-09-2010, 03:14 PM
I don't know what to make of your list droid, BTW. I guess you will have to put some meat on those bones. Certainly foreign policy circa now is to the left of Imperial Britain. (You agree with that, surely). The post WWII Keynesian demand management regime complicates matters slightly, but it's abandonment reflects its failure, and it has certainly hasn't marked a change in the trend.

'Imperial Britain' - in 1960? :rolleyes:

Since the 60's we've seen an accelerated rollback of the welfare state in both the US and the UK, we've seen the introduction of widespread privatisation of state owned assets, including energy, transport and healthcare, we've seen a shift to low regulation, low taxation economies, union membership at its lowest ebb since unions became a political force and an increase in Western military intervention under the guise of the 'new humanitarianism' and the 'wars on...' (although in the case of the US this is debatable). We've also seen the gradual weakening of the far/radical left in terms of influence in Europe to the point where it is practically non-existent as a political entity.

Regardless, your point is so vague as to defy any kind of sensible answer. Who has gotten more 'right wing' exactly - populations or governments? Where do you think this has this taken place? what criteria are you using to define the terms?

Mr. Tea
22-09-2010, 03:24 PM
Obviously it's impossible to assign all possible stances on all possible issues to a single axis running from "left" to "right". How you can meaningfully categorise political stances these days is a fascinating subject, for sure, but I think it's a debate for another thread.

Anyway, my main thrust over the last couple of pages is basically: what opinion the public has of climate science, whether they think AGW is the-biggest-threat-humanity-has-ever-faced or a con perpetrated by scientific charlatans for whatever nefarious purpose, is of no real consequence if no party that could feasibly hold power (no pun intended) has an energy policy that differs substantially from the status quo. Also, I think you severely overestimate how sympathetic to 'green' issues most people are in this country. Most people aren't academics and don't read the Guardian or the Indy. On Monday there was a piece on the beeb news website about how the ozone hole is the biggest it's ever been; the Mail's headline the same day was "Hooray, the ozone layer is safe!" (with the predictable strapline about cancer rates).

Edit: yeah sure, Britain is clearly to the "left" of where it was a couple of hundred years ago, when slavery was legal and you had to be a hereditary nobleman in order to vote, but as droid and scott point out, it's a different story if you consider recent history - say the last half-century or so.

scottdisco
22-09-2010, 04:33 PM
Most people aren't academics and don't read the Guardian or the Indy. On Monday there was a piece on the beeb news website about how the ozone hole is the biggest it's ever been; the Mail's headline the same day was "Hooray, the ozone layer is safe!" (with the predictable strapline about cancer rates).

very true, bit O T of me, selected newspapers by circulation in the UK (2009 latest full year figures)

Sun 3.1 million
Mail 2.2 m

Telegraph (home of notoriously vocal AGW sceptics Booker and North) 691k
Express ('climate change is DEFINITELY a COMMUNIST PLOT') 674k

Guardian 302k

Indy 185k

of course i take Vim's point on-board about the broad sweep of history (and are very thankful for same, natch!), but Droid's riposte about the inarguable, depressing trends in many areas in the last few decades seems water-tight. i think it was me the other day somewhere on the board who noted the only region of the world to become more equal in the last decade was latin America and although the likes of Colombia's conservative govt are included in that sweep, there's been a lot of govts of a decidedly pinkish hue in that part of the world in recent years.

countries w govts pushing smaller state agendas are becoming less equal, or at any rate are not closing any gaps.

sorry very little to do w AGW debates!

vimothy
07-10-2010, 03:50 PM
Not forgotten this thread--just v. busy!

Scott, I don't doubt that the Mail an the Sun have larger circulation than the Guardian. What I'm interested in is if the Mail has gotten more or less right wing over time (e.g. since it was a pro-Hitler paper). What do you think? By implication, droid thinks that it has gotten more right wing, whereas I think that this is ridiculous.

vimothy
07-10-2010, 03:53 PM
Mr Tea, fortunately or unfortunately, most people's opinions are not that important. What are the opinions of the people who actually govern the country (not necessarily politicians, of course!)--that's the relevant question.

droid
07-10-2010, 03:57 PM
Not forgotten this thread--just v. busy!

Scott, I don't doubt that the Mail an the Sun have larger circulation than the Guardian. What I'm interested in is if the Mail has gotten more or less right wing over time (e.g. since it was a pro-Hitler paper). What do you think? By implication, droid thinks that it has gotten more right wing, whereas I think that this is ridiculous.

Whats ridiculous is first claiming that 'we' have gotten 'more' left wing in the past 60 years, and then changing this to 'we' are less right wing than 'imperial Britain' and then changing again to 'the daily mail has gotten less right wing than when they supported the Nazis'...

Its shoddy stuff Vim, well below your usual standard. Define your terms instead of changing the goalposts.

Mr. Tea
07-10-2010, 04:38 PM
Mr Tea, fortunately or unfortunately, most people's opinions are not that important. What are the opinions of the people who actually govern the country (not necessarily politicians, of course!)--that's the relevant question.

What I'm saying is, if issues relating to climate change and environment at large were sufficiently important to a sufficiently large number of people, the Greens would be a major force in parliament, or even form the governement, rather than being a small fringe party that gets a few local councillors here and there.

I think a lot of people are vaguely aware that there is Trouble brewing but either feel that it is suffiently far off in the future or happening far away, or that there's no point trying to do anything serious about it because it's now inevitable, and that even if everyone in Britain became a self-sufficient crofter overnight, what good is that really going to do when China's building car factories faster than we can build cars?

vimothy
07-10-2010, 04:45 PM
BTW, I'm not arguing that anyone has gotten more right wing. That's your argument. My argument is that society as a whole has gotten more left wing over time. This is a secular trend, though there are cyclical variations. Europe is different case to the US but the trend is there all the same.

1960 was the year of the famous "wins of change" speech (a speech given by, one should note, a conservative politician). I would think that dismantling the British Empire was a fairly unambiguously left-wing thing to do, and I don't see signs that it's about to be re-established any time soon. The Union was more left wing than the Confederacy. Tony Blair is more left wing than Lee Kwan Yew. These all seem unambiguous as well.

It's true that there is this thing called "neo-liberalism", and it's also true that there was a significant shift in mode of government around the second world war towards a more expansive technocratic state with large welfare programmes, etc. (Note America's influence in the post-war reconstruction). This isn't about to change, and neoliberalism is more like some kind of intellectual fad amongst our elites about how to be better technocrats, like neuro linguistic programming or similar management bullshit.

"7. Have thirty years of heightened competition, globalization, and neoliberalism decimated welfare states? No, the share of GDP going to social policy expenditures hasn’t decreased on average. Some countries have reduced the generosity of certain programs, such as pensions, unemployment insurance, sickness/disability compensation, and social assistance. But these cuts have been offset by increases in need (more elderly households, higher unemployment), rising health care costs, and new programs such as child care and other family benefits. See chapters 22, 23, 35, 38."

http://lanekenworthy.net/2010/08/25/the-sum-of-all-knowledge-on-the-welfare-state/

But I think it's a mistake to focus on economics. The more important shift is cultural. If you just look at the economics you could end up thinking that the Whigs weren't on the left, or that Germany has gotten more right wing since the Nazis.

vimothy
07-10-2010, 05:01 PM
What I'm saying is, if issues relating to climate change and environment at large were sufficiently important to a sufficiently large number of people, the Greens would be a major force in parliament, or even form the governement, rather than being a small fringe party that gets a few local councillors here and there.

I think a lot of people are vaguely aware that there is Trouble brewing but either feel that it is suffiently far off in the future or happening far away, or that there's no point trying to do anything serious about it because it's now inevitable, and that even if everyone in Britain became a self-sufficient crofter overnight, what good is that really going to do when China's building car factories faster than we can build cars?

Which is why I think that world looks very similar to this one.

droid
08-10-2010, 10:49 AM
Sorry VIm, its still one of the most garbled and incoherent arguments Ive ever seen you make:

http://www.politicalcompass.org/images/axeswithnames.gif

Mr. Tea
08-10-2010, 11:02 AM
The five people on that^ chart would make for the best Celebrity Big Brother ever.

vimothy
13-10-2010, 07:28 PM
Sorry VIm, its still one of the most garbled and incoherent arguments Ive ever seen you make

That must be quite a list!

swears
14-10-2010, 12:04 AM
Article in the New Republic on Republicans and climate change:

http://www.tnr.com/article/environment-energy/magazine/78208/gop-global-warming-denial-insanity

Mr. Tea
04-11-2010, 10:13 AM
Brazil's new offshore field could be the biggest oil find in the Americas for over 30 years. (http://en.in-en.com/article/News/Oil/html/2010110119220.html)

Could be as much as 15b barrels...looks like 'peak oil' might still be a few years off yet. Of course, finding oil is one thing, extracting it is quite another - Deepwater Horizon, anyone? :confused:

Mr. Tea
02-04-2011, 10:49 AM
I just meant that contra some people who've been saying that world oil production must be at a peak around now and that it's bound to decrease from now on, large new oil fields are still being discovered - but of course that finding oil isn't the same thing as being able to extract it.

But as long as there's still resources to make Louis Vuitton handbags, that's the main thing, eh? :)

you
03-04-2011, 09:51 AM
Hi Tea, do you know of any good websites where I can get Louis Vuitton handbags?

Anyone got opinions about Osbourne's petrol consumer Vs company tax seesaw? I think it's doomed.

Mr. Tea
02-10-2011, 10:38 AM
Briton described as "the UK's most effective environmental activist" - who has no criminal record and meets the requirements for the US visa waiver programme - has been sent home after landing at JFK for a speaking tour and being grilled by the Feds for six hours. (http://aviationjustice.org/2011/09/30/john-stewart-barred-from-us/)

Fucksake.

sufi
05-05-2015, 12:48 PM
http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2856446/beyond_petroleum_frackings_collapse_heralds_the_ar rival_of_peak_oil.html
or
'What, is peak oil dead? -- Then show me the body! (of statistical
evidence)', Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations, May 2015

griftert
05-05-2015, 12:53 PM
So - all the fossil fuels are coming out of the ground aren't they? Is there any other course of events because I can't see it.

HMGovt
30-05-2015, 11:22 AM
So - all the fossil fuels are coming out of the ground aren't they? Is there any other course of events because I can't see it.

Yes, solar is approaching parity with fossol fuels and will soon become cheaper.
Driverless vehicles = electric vehicles
Thorium cycle nuclear energy.
"Fusion in 30 years"
Pandemic or war kill 65% of the world's population, reducing demand.

It'll be fine.

griftert
21-07-2015, 06:22 PM
Yes, solar is approaching parity with fossol fuels and will soon become cheaper.
Driverless vehicles = electric vehicles
Thorium cycle nuclear energy.
"Fusion in 30 years"
Pandemic or war kill 65% of the world's population, reducing demand.

It'll be fine.

I can't tell the tone of this post.

luka
21-07-2015, 06:25 PM
It's standard hmg technological optimism and social pessimism. I think it's basically earnest despite glib tone

griftert
22-07-2015, 03:43 PM
'Technology will save the day' is the standard response to these concerns. Isn't the obvious conclusion to take from all this is that technology was a huge part of the problem all along? And that we need less technology, not more?

Mr. Tea
22-07-2015, 04:36 PM
We need better, and less, technology, is my hunch.

sufi
03-09-2015, 05:54 PM
A wonderful.passionate post, a tale of hope and daring,
https://labofii.wordpress.com
it feels sometimes about as unreal to me as narnia, and that just makes it all the more awesome

Mr. Tea
25-10-2016, 01:20 PM
Third runway for Heathrow approved: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37760187

sufi
27-09-2017, 07:41 PM
Responsible for 40-50% of damage apparently (presumably the rest is a long tail all the way down to you & I)
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10584-017-1978-0#Sec10 & http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/90-companies-helped-cause-the-climate-crisis-they-should-pay-for-it-20170913

Yes! They should Pay

Summary:

First, many of them knew what damage they were causing. According to the report, more than half of the carbon emissions produced since the industrial revolution were emitted since 1986, when the dangers of global warming were well-known. But these companies buried their own research findings and doubled down on fossil fuel extraction.

Second, many of these companies spend vast sums promoting climate denial and undermining support for renewable energy, electric vehicles, and other responses to the climate crisis. Industry lobbyists and think tanks, flush with money from fossil fuel companies and their executives, distort our democracy, making government accountable to their interests rather than to We the People.

Third, by doing these things, these companies prevented action during the brief window of time between climate science becoming clear and it becoming too late to avert disaster.

The shit list (a few states in there too):
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Alpha Natural Resources, USA
Anadarko, USA
Anglo American, UK
Apache, USA
Arch Coal Company, USA
Bahrain Petroleum Corporation
BG Group (British Gas) UK
BHP Billiton, Australia
BP, UK
British Coal Corporation, UK
Canadian Natural Resources, Canada
Cemex, Mexico
Chevron, USA
China, Peoples Rep. (coal & cement only)
CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Co.)
Coal India, India
ConocoPhillips, USA
CONSOL Energy, USA
Cyprus Amax, USA
Czech Republic
Czechoslovakia
Devon Energy, USA
Ecopetrol, Colombia
Egyptian General Petroleum, Egypt
EnCana, Canada
ENI, Italy
ExxonMobil, USA
FSU (Former Soviet Union)
Gazprom, Russia
HeidelbergCement, Germany
Hess, USA
Holcim, Switzerland
Husky, Canada
Iraq National Oil Company, Iraq
Italcementi
Kazakhstan
Kiewit Mining Group, USA
Kuwait Petroleum Corp., Kuwait
Lafarge, France
Libya National Oil Corp., Libya
Lukoil, Russia
Luminant / TXU, USA
Marathon, USA
Massey Energy Corporation, US
Murphy Oil, USA
Murray Coal Corporation, USA
National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), Iran
Nexen, Canada
Nigerian National Petroleum, Nigeria
North American Coal, US
North Korea
Occidental, USA
Oil and Gas Corp India, India
OMV Group, Austria
Peabody Energy
Pertamina, Indonesia
PetroChina, China
Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras), Brazil
Petroleos de Venezuela, Venezuela
Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), Mexico
Petroleum Development Oman, Oman
Petronas, Malaysia
Poland
Polish Oil & Gas Co.
Qatar Petroleum, Qatar
Repsol, Spain
Rio Tinto, UK
Rosneft, Russian Federation
Royal Dutch Shell, The Netherlands
Ruhrkohle AG (RAG), Germany
Russian Federation (not including FSU)
RWE, Germany
Sasol, South Africa
Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia
Singareni Collieries Company, India
Sinopec, China
Sonangol, Angola
Sonatrach, Algeria
Statoil, Norway
Suncor, Canada
Syrian Petroleum, Syria
Taiheiyo, Japan
Talisman, Canada
Total, France
UK Coal, UK
Ukraine
Westmoreland Mining, USA
Xstrata, Switzerland
Yukos, Russia

Mr. Tea
03-06-2019, 09:42 PM
Reviving this thread because this post isn't directly XR-related:

This TV show about Chernobyl is by all accounts very well made and engaging, but I wonder if it could have possibly come at a worse time. Friend of mine was on Facebook earlier with:

"Watch the new mini-series Chernobyl; the message is immediately clear.... why the FUCKKKK are we still gambling with nuclear power."

I pointed out that the absolute upper limit on estimates of premature deaths caused by all nuclear accidents that have ever happened is about the same as the monthly premature death toll due to coal-burning power stations, and that that's just from respiratory illnesses caused by particulates and smog, before you even take into account the climatic effects. He responded:

"Seriously, I would take burning coal again over the the horrendously outdated nuclear plants currently dotted all over the globe. Ticking time bombs in my opinion."

People have this incredibly strong emotional reaction to anything with the word 'nuclear' in it which is not at all backed up by the science and statistics, which is a huge problem because it's the only realistic option for supplying the bulk of our energy needs in the near future, other than continued reliance on fossil fuels.

other_life
04-06-2019, 07:14 AM
its ideology

Mr. Tea
04-06-2019, 04:37 PM
I think it's something more primitive and fundamental than that, really. It's a really visceral, emotional aversion. Like people who totally freak out over spiders. And of course there are some very dangerous spiders, but some people freak out over any spider, no matter how many times you tell them it's just a normal garden spider and totally harmless if you're not an insect.

luka
04-06-2019, 04:49 PM
I'm old enough to remember lying awake at night 'knowing' the Russians could nuke us. The sky incandescent, body smashed to smithereens, evaporated. This was THE nightmare of the entire Cold War period

sadmanbarty
04-06-2019, 04:56 PM
I'm old enough to remember lying awake at night 'knowing' the Russians could nuke us. The sky incandescent, body smashed to smithereens, evaporated. This was THE nightmare of the entire Cold War period

Hardcore was the first music to embrace the aesthetic of oblivion and it coincided with the end of the Cole war. Society was now detached e Pugh from nuclear apocalypse that it could now fathom it for entertainment purposes.

See also the nuclear war dream sequence in terminator 2

luka
04-06-2019, 05:08 PM
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iQVv40_9NSo

Kaboom!

poetix
04-06-2019, 05:46 PM
Quoting without attribution: "here's a take so hot i dare not ever say it in public: the way the eco left talks about climate change as if it's proof of the fact that trying to transcend nature with industry is intrinsically unsustainable, rather than a specific problem to do with the specifics of fossil fuels, is genuinely the exact same logic as the right in the '80s talking about aids as proof of the inherent unsustainabiltiy of sexual freedom and non-hetero sex rather than a specific epidemic. the two arguments are equally good"

"Further: the right opposed sex education and condom/clean needle distribution on the grounds that these would encourage people to continue in the bad old ways; the eco left doesn't really want to know how industrial civilisation can be run on clean energy, or that we could scrub carbon from the air, since we'd escape the moral consequences and hence the moral lesson of climate change."

Mr. Tea
04-06-2019, 06:09 PM
I'm old enough to remember lying awake at night 'knowing' the Russians could nuke us. The sky incandescent, body smashed to smithereens, evaporated. This was THE nightmare of the entire Cold War period

Uh, we're talking about civilian nuclear energy, not bombs.

Mr. Tea
04-06-2019, 06:11 PM
Quoting without attribution: "here's a take so hot i dare not ever say it in public: the way the eco left talks about climate change as if it's proof of the fact that trying to transcend nature with industry is intrinsically unsustainable, rather than a specific problem to do with the specifics of fossil fuels, is genuinely the exact same logic as the right in the '80s talking about aids as proof of the inherent unsustainabiltiy of sexual freedom and non-hetero sex rather than a specific epidemic. the two arguments are equally good"

"Further: the right opposed sex education and condom/clean needle distribution on the grounds that these would encourage people to continue in the bad old ways; the eco left doesn't really want to know how industrial civilisation can be run on clean energy, or that we could scrub carbon from the air, since we'd escape the moral consequences and hence the moral lesson of climate change."

There's something to that argument and I've had similar thoughts myself - the 'punishment for techno hubris' bit, I mean, not the Aids parallel.

luka
04-06-2019, 06:41 PM
Uh, we're talking about civilian nuclear energy, not bombs.

Uh, yeah, these things get entwined in the unconscious you simpleton

droid
04-06-2019, 07:17 PM
Quoting without attribution: "here's a take so hot i dare not ever say it in public: the way the eco left talks about climate change as if it's proof of the fact that trying to transcend nature with industry is intrinsically unsustainable, rather than a specific problem to do with the specifics of fossil fuels, is genuinely the exact same logic as the right in the '80s talking about aids as proof of the inherent unsustainabiltiy of sexual freedom and non-hetero sex rather than a specific epidemic. the two arguments are equally good"

"Further: the right opposed sex education and condom/clean needle distribution on the grounds that these would encourage people to continue in the bad old ways; the eco left doesn't really want to know how industrial civilisation can be run on clean energy, or that we could scrub carbon from the air, since we'd escape the moral consequences and hence the moral lesson of climate change."

That would be true if climate was an isolated crisis confined to essentially a technical problem of how to produce energy without emitting carbon dioxide. Unfortunately that's not the case. We face manifold ecological crises related to overconsumption, pollution, biodiversity, extinction, overfishing, deforestation, soil depletion. If all of the carbon from the last 200 years was magically removed from the atmosphere tomorrow we would still have to deal with all of these other critical issues, all of which are related to industry, or more precisely, capitalism and it's founding myth of infinite economic growth within a closed system.

TLDR, the author of that quote is talking absolute bollocks.

Mr. Tea
04-06-2019, 07:30 PM
Uh, yeah, these things get entwined in the unconscious you simpleton

It sounded like you were genuinely conflating them.

I mean, you've said things as stupid as that before while trying to score points against me.

Mr. Tea
04-06-2019, 08:06 PM
That would be true if climate was an isolated crisis confined to essentially a technical problem of how to produce energy without emitting carbon dioxide. Unfortunately that's not the case. We face manifold ecological crises related to overconsumption, pollution, biodiversity, extinction, overfishing, deforestation, soil depletion. If all of the carbon from the last 200 years was magically removed from the atmosphere tomorrow we would still have to deal with all of these other critical issues, all of which are related to industry, or more precisely, capitalism and it's founding myth of infinite economic growth within a closed system.

TLDR, the author of that quote is talking absolute bollocks.

About half of all GHG emissions are associated with fossil fuels. If a clean, safe and economical alternative to that could be found, the rate of climate change would be halved. On top of that, it would solve all the problems associated with FF extraction and use - oil spills, smog, acid rain, everything. Are you seriously saying that this would not be desirable in itself?

I think many people on the left have a knee-jerk antipathy towards technological solutions because technology is inextricably linked with capitalism. To be honest I get the impression you'd be really disappointed if a commercial company announced tomorrow that it had cracked economically viable fusion energy.

HMGovt
04-06-2019, 11:24 PM
Chernobyl's starkest warning is about the white-hot, reality-denying stupidity of authoritarian, hierarchical socialism, not nuclear fission.


Cheers for the warning, lads. Cunts.

https://media.giphy.com/media/26gsuGjZdVtbwUwZq/giphy.gif

It's ironic that combustion of carbon graphite reactor core made Chernobyl such a bitch of an accident to deal with.

This photo is interesting. That blob is part of the melted core that made its way down to the basement. The optical artefacts in the photo are caused by the radiation it's kicking out. The dude in the hardhat is lighting his fag off it, TEN YEARS after the accident.

http://assets.atlasobscura.com/article_images/lg/23185/image.jpg

droid
05-06-2019, 09:20 AM
Chernobyl's starkest warning is about the white-hot, reality-denying stupidity


The history of nuclear accidents demonstrates that this phenomenon was equally common in the West.

Mr. Tea
05-06-2019, 12:14 PM
The history of nuclear accidents demonstrates that this phenomenon was equally common in the West.

The fact remains that, of the three accidents in the two most serious categories, two happened in the USSR (and the other in Japan):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Nuclear_Event_Scale

Of course Three Mile Island and Windscale/Sellafield were pretty bad too, but nothing like the scale of the really big ones.

The point is that it's possible to learn from mistakes and take action to ensure similar accidents don't happen in future, or at least to greatly mitigate the risk. Whereas the harm caused by coal-burning power plants, at both a local and global level, isn't a "risk"; it's an unavoidable feature of their day-to-day operation.